WHAT ARE FOOT ORTHOTICS?
Foot orthotics are inserts which are placed inside the shoe to tilt the foot into its proper position, correcting misalignments. The most common of these are pronation (the foot naturally tilts inwards) or supination (the foot naturally tilts outwards). Misalignment of the feet can cause symptoms such as back pain, knee problems or general foot pain. Orthotics can eliminate or reduce these.
Older diabetic patients can benefit greatly from foot orthoses. Correctly prescribed, foot orthotics can spread pressure evenly over the foot base and thus reduce the incidence of chronic ulcers.
WHAT IS THE FOOT ALIGNMENT SYSTEM?
The FAS is a precision measuring device and casting tool which allows the practitioner to align your feet while you are standing – and therefore bearing your own weight. A cast is taken with your feet in this position and an orthotic insert is custom-made from this mould. The FAS also allows the practitioner to prescribe orthotics which will work inside the shoes you want to wear, such as sports, casual or fashion shoes.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The key is in the way the mould is taken. Usually, orthotics are made from prescriptions prepared while feet are in a non-weight bearing position. This means the cast has to be modified into a “corrected shape” to take into account the way the foot changes when we stand. This is very subjective and the final prescription can vary greatly depending on the technicians’ skill level. An orthotic works by forcing your foot into an aligned position, so if the shape of the orthotic forces your foot in the wrong places it will lessen the effect of the orthotic. The FAS effectively removes the guess work from the whole process. Research conducted at La Trobe University showed that the FAS had more repeatability and much less variability than the common non-weight bearing technique. With the FAS you know you are getting the best orthotic fit for your feet.
ARE FAS ORTHOTICS COMFORTABLE?
As the feet are gradually aligned during the casting process, patients usually sense that they are standing differently and it can feel odd. For many it will be the first time in their lives they have experienced the sensation of standing perfectly straight! FAS orthotics are generally more comfortable than orthotics made in the standard way as your weight will be distributed evenly over the whole orthotics. At La Trobe University a study found that of 23 students issued with FAS weight-bearing and standard non-weight bearing orthotics, 22 preferred the FAS Orthotics, with the 23rd student having no preference.
After following the FAS instructions on how to get used to FAS orthotics, all the patients have found them very comfortable and forget they are wearing them. Many patients start to feel more uncomfortable when they are not wearing them!
HOW LONG WILL THEY LAST?
The orthotics will last many years but this will be determined by the activity levels of the user.
DO HEALTH FUNDS OFFER REBATES?
Yes, depending on personal policies.