Common Foot Conditions

Detailed below are some common foot problems that can be treated with the use of Orthotics and trusted Internationally recognised footwear brands. The images and content are provided by Vasyli International.

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Why do we need orthotics?

The human foot was originally 'designed' to travel on soft, natural surfaces like earth and sand. Unfortunately, instead of soft earth, we now spend every day walking and standing on unnatural hard, flat surfaces like pavements and floors. These surfaces force our feet to roll over to gain ground contact and our arches to flatten. Rolling over of the foot - or 'Excess Pronation' is believed to affect over 70% of the population! Interestingly, although the foot rolls inwards, often the shoe will wear excessively on the outside edge of the heel. This is because the foot normally 'lands' on the outside edge first and consequently rolls over causing excess pronation as a compensatory motion.

Achilles Pain (Achilles Tendonitis)

Achilles Tendonitis commonly occurs from shearing and stretching (tractional) forces placed on the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. Excess Pronation causes the heel bone to tilt excessively and places extra strain on the tendon. Inflammation of the tendon is a common result along with tightening of the calf muscles.

Orthotics align the heel bone and significantly reduces the shearing and stretching forces on the Achilles Tendon, thereby providing relief from Achilles Pain.

Lower Back Pain (Lumbar Pain)

"My lower back had a dull ache and stiffness, particularly after being on my feet for awhile. Sometimes the pain would run down the back of my legs and cause extreme tiredness. I'd try to stretch out to get some relief, but it didn't seem to last."

Rolling over of the feet – excess pronation – causes the lower leg to rotate internally. As a result, the pelvis is forces to tilt forward, which can cause an increased curvature of the lower back (see illustration). This is referred to as 'poor body posture'. Especially after standing up-right for longer periods the curvature in back will cause tightness and stiffness of the lower back muscles.

By controlling 'excess pronation' of the feet, orthotics help improve your body posture. Because the feet are now properly aligned, internal rotation of the legs and forward pelvic tilt are greatly reduced, thereby easing low back pain.

Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)

"After walking and standing all day I get tired, aching feet. Often I experience pain under the arch of my foot - sometimes a burning sensation right under the ball of my foot"

This condition commonly occurs with women, however many men suffer from pain the ball of the foot. Sometimes a callous develops in the centre of the foot and footwear may wear out in a similar fashion. It causes a burning sensation in the ball of the foot and can become very painful.

Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia) commonly occurs from rotation and dropping (plantarflexion) of the metatarsal bones along with excess pronation and weakening of the soft tissue (ligament & muscle) structures.

Orthotics align the central three (3) metatarsal shafts using an inbuilt 5mm met raise to correctly position and maintain the Metatarsal bone position.

By balancing the weight distribution over the five (5) metatarsal bones, this helps remove excess weight & friction which commonly causes the callous and burning sensation.

Bunions (Hallux Abducto Valgus)

Bunions are a bony lump that gradually develop on the big toe joint over many years. Bunions can sometimes be very painful and at other times exhibit no pain at all. The common cause of this condition is a combination of genetic factors and or foot function. Interestingly, footwear is not the common cause as generally believed. Excess pronation place excess weight over the big toe joint while walking, and combined with a forefoot (or Metatarsal bone) adducted position, causes a Bunion to develop.

Orthotics control excess pronation (although not forefoot adductus) which is a common factor causing Bunions. Orthotics redistribute the weight evenly over the foot to prevent (or reduce) the gradual growth of a bunion. Orthotics are very successful in reducing symptoms with painful Bunion conditions. Sometimes, surgery may be indicated.

Flat Feet / Fallen Arches (Pes Planus)

A true flat foot is rare. Generally, a flat-footed person is only suffering from a functional flat-foot caused by excess pronation. Excess Pronation causes the foot's arch to collapse & elongate giving the appearance of a flat foot. A functional flat foot is quite common and generally exhibits symptoms ranging from sore/tired feet to general leg fatigue and body aches.

Orthotics are designed to control excess pronation (the common cause of functional flat feet), thereby restoring the foot's arch to normal.

Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

"It seems to come on almost overnight. You get out of bed and get a sharp piercing pain in the centre of the heel. After hobbling around for a few minutes the pain seems to disappear. After prolonged standing the pain comes back like a dull ache."

This is a common description by sufferers. Heel pain is usually caused by rolling over of the foot (Excess Pronation). As the foot pronates, the arch collapses and the muscles (plantar fascia) and supporting structure are forces to stretch and elongate. This puts traction and strain on the ligaments running from the heel to the toes. In turn, the heel bone 'responds' by developing a bony growth right in the centre of the heel - the 'heel spur'.

By wearing an orthotic shoe insert you will align the foot and control body posture By supporting the arches and re-aligning the lower limb to its natural angle, orthotics reduces the traction and strain on the plantar fascia, taking away this common cause of heel pain.

Knee Pain (Patello-Femoral Syndrome)

"I suffer from a sharp pain in the knee when walking up or down the stairs. This pain also occurs when I leave my car or get out of my chair. I wore a knee guard for several months which helped only slightly: however, the pain and crunching/clicking sensation returned..."

This type of knee pain is commonly caused by flattening of the foot's arch. Excess Pronation - or rolling over of the foot - causes the lower leg (the tibia & fibia) to rotate internally. In turn, this will put excessive forces on the knee cap and over time it will weaken the muscles and ligaments in the knee joint. Often, a 'grinding' sensation is experienced in the knee, combined with a sharp pain.

By supporting the arches and re-aligning the lower limb, orthotics stop the leg from rotating internally, thereby effectively taking away this common cause of knee pain.

Outside Knee & Hip Pain (Ilio-tibial Band Syndrome)

A common condition in athletes caused by abnormal friction & rubbing of the Ilio-tibial band muscle over the knee & hip joints. This condition commonly exhibits a gradual but rather several pain on the outside knee joint and less commonly on the outside hip section. Sometimes, simply walking up or down stairs may aggravate this condition. The pain usually subsides immediately upon rest but re-occurs with activity.

Orthotics control the internal rotation of the shin bone (tibia) and furthermore the rotation on the knee & hip joint via the in-built 4 degree rearfoot varus wedge. Thereby, reducing stretching (tractional) and frictional forces on the Ilio-tibial band muscle. Stretching of the Ilio-tibial band muscle is advised. Develop.