Nobody is biomechanically perfect, or even perfectly symmetrical, we all have minor differences between our right and left sides or underlying instabilities. These are often exacerbated by bad habits and can lead to pain and injury. An assessment is patient specific depending on the presenting concern or injury, involving a thorough history taking followed by an assessment, both weight bearing and non weight bearing of the lower limb structure and function looking for excessive tissue stress and ways to reduce this. Treatment may involve footwear evaluation, exercises to stretch or strengthen muscles, or the provision of foot orthoses. Rather like spectacles, prescriptions vary widely in their complexity, we may be able to offer simple 'off the shelf' kit form orthoses, taken from a wide range kept in stock and adapted in the surgery to meet your needs. Starting from £55 these offer a great long term solution for many people.
3D Scanning Technology
Technology continues to play an ever increasing role in our lives and the field of podiatric healthcare is no different. A biomechanical assesment requires years of experience and training to properly diagnose a foot pathology and prescribe the relevent intervention, podiatrists can now be supported in their work by fast, clean, accurate scanning technology.
When a podiatrist prescribes a custom made foot orthosis they have to capture the anatomy of the patient's foot and send this to an orthotic lab for the manufacture of a prescriptive device, a foot orthosis (sometimes called an orthotic). Traditionally this is fulfilled using a plaster of paris casting, moulded around the patients foot, dried, packed and posted to a lab from which the device is produced. This provides a number of challenges for both the patient and the practitioner. The process is messy and time consuming, the plaster needs time to dry and risks being damaged in transit to the lab.
Recent advances made in scanning technology have changed all this, now a three dimensional computer generated image of the foot can be crreated withing minutes,then instantly sent to the lab with accompanying prescription from the podiatrist. A huge variety of specific adaptations can then be prescribed accordingto the individuals footwear, lifestyle, activity and, of course, their pathology.
This type of technology has until recently been hugely expensive, requiring dedicated gait analysis laboratories and bulky equipment, so costs to patients have also been prohibitive, now we are able to offer long life, fully bespoke orthoses, created with a combination of professional knowledge and high tech equipment for £320 a pair.