What you need to know about physiotherapy and podiatry.
1) What are Custom-Made Insoles?
Customised Insoles, or Functional Foot Orthoses, are devices designed to enhance lower limb mechanics by functional control, shock absorption, cushioning and/or pressure distribution of the feet. They are inserted into shoes and true-blue custom-made insoles are only prescribed by qualified Podiatrists.
2) Does everyone with a foot problem or pain require Customised Insoles?
That is not always the case. In cases where the symptoms are not severe and/or long term of insoles are not required, there are affordable off-the-shelf insoles readily available at Physio & Sole Clinic which can provide the necessary correction for some patients. Speak with one of our Podiatrists to find out more on our range of orthoses and the type of insoles you need!
3) Where should I get Customised Insoles?
There is a large variety of insoles in the market today claiming to be custom- made by taking a scan of your feet. These insoles are often prescribed and made by salesmen who are not trained vigorously about various foot conditions. Everyone has different feet structures and conditions, and insoles prescribed by an untrained person can be detrimental. If you have a foot problem that may require insoles, we recommend you consult a qualified Podiatrist and have your orthoses prescribed by a Podiatrist. You should avoid obtaining insoles from vendors who are not medically trained and are not competent in a thorough lower limb assessment.
4) How are Customised Insoles made?
A thorough assessment by a Podiatrist is required before prescribing insoles. A Podiatrist will have to check your foot and ankle joints, as well as analyse the way you stand, walk and/or run. In most cases, the knees, hips and spine have to be assessed as well. These assessments are important to ensure any insoles made are accurately prescribed to correct any functional or structural problems in the lower limbs. After a thorough assessment, the Podiatrist will take a mould of your feet. Physio & Sole Clinic uses a modern 3D scanner to accurately capture your feet structure.
Podiatrist using 3D scanning to capture foot image
Examples of 3D Feet Scans
Insoles come in different shapes and sizes. Every pair of custom-made insoles by Physio & Sole Clinic are manually fabricated by trained Australian technicians.
5) Are Wet Foot Print Tests and Pressure Mats accurate in diagnosing foot problems?
That would be a big ‘No!’
The wet foot print test has been used frequently as a guideline for buying shoes and insoles. This test is inaccurate because it only shows the shape of the foot when it is stationary. The wet foot print test fails to determine what happens to the foot in motion. It does not take into consideration the other parts of the body. Your knees, hips and spine play an important role during walking and running!
Technology has evolved since the “wet foot print test” concept to pressure mats or force plates, which is unfortunately the method commonly spotted in insoles kiosks located in many shopping malls in Singapore. Be extremely cautious with the use of such technology, as a standing assessment does not necessarily represent your actual foot function during walking. You might be prescribed an unsuitable pair of insoles that can lead to more problems.
6) What kind of footwear do I need to be able to use insoles?
Some vendors will reassure you that insoles are able to use in slippers or high heels. This may cause more injuries. In order for insoles to work and serve well, we will recommend supportive shoes that can fit those insoles. It can be a pair of sneakers or a open toe Mary Jane’s. Insoles can be custom-made to fit into certain footwear, even slim shoes. However, that will mean that the support of the insoles would be compromised as we reduce the material of the insole to accommodate the shoes. An understanding and helpful Podiatrist will take the effort to work through your footwear requirements and come up with a treatment plan that includes insoles that you will be willing to use daily.
Good shoes might not necessarily have to be just sports shoes. They can be stylish too!
7) Do everyone with flat feet need insoles?
Everyone has different feet structures. One may appear to have a lower arch during standing, but if the person has the right muscular support and conditioning, a flat foot can still be a good foot! Conversely, even if your foot has a nice arch, if the muscles and ligaments around the ankle and foot are not functioning correctly, it can affect your walking and running pattern and lead to pain.
When in doubt, always consult an experienced Podiatrist to have a thorough assessment of your foot mechanics conducted before purchasing insoles. Gait analysis, which is the observation of one’s walking or running pattern, requires a trained eye in identifying abnormalities in lower limb biomechanics. It takes years to acquire the necessary skills to do a comprehensive gait analysis. At The Physio & Sole Clinic, you will get to observe your own walking with a live video gait analysis, with a skilled podiatrist to guide you through your gait cycle!
We hope you have gained more knowledge before plunging in to get a pair of insoles. Drop us a note if you have other questions!