An Orthosis is a device that is applied externally to a part of the body to improve the function of, or restrict movement of, a joint or joints that are causing pain.
It can also be used to prevent a deformity from progressing. There are many different types of Orthoses so the type chosen in each individual case will depend on the condition being treated.
Mr Nick Gallogly is the Consultant Orthotist of Reading Foot & Ankle Unit. He provides custom orthotics for patients in Berkshire, and specialises in biomechanics, gait analysis and the management of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular lower limb conditions.
Who benefits from wearing orthotics?
In addition to providing relief for painful foot problems or an injury, those who may benefit from orthotics include people who must walk or stand excessively on the job. For those who are active in sports, orthotics will often increase endurance, performance and strength. For overweight individuals, orthotics can help to counteract the extra stress on the feet, as minor problems are often magnified due to the increased weight.
Sports activities result in a great deal of movement and pressure on the foot. Slight imbalances in the foot that are not harmful or even detectable under usual circumstances may make one more vulnerable to injury with the extra stress of sports activity. By eliminating the need for one’s muscles to compensate for imperceptible imbalances, Functional Foot Orthoses can reduce fatigue and promote efficient muscle function to enhance performance. With enough functional correction, the foot structure can be aligned to give more propulsion, making walking, running and cycling more mechanically and energy efficient.
When coming up with the right design of orthosis for sport is important to understand the footwear that is being used and also the forces being exerted through the body for the particular activity undertaken. As an example, the needs of a rugby player will be much different to the young netball player, the elderly person playing tennis or the ultra-marathon runner.
The prescription of an orthosis for your child is based on many factors such as
- the symptoms they experience
- footwear used at school
- when the symptoms occur (it may only be at P.E in sportswear)
- whether or not the foot is flexible and correctable
- the forces causing the problems to your child’s feet
- a family history of foot problems
The type of orthosis for your child will be discussed a great length with you in their appointment to allow you to understand exactly what your options are and to assist you in making an informed decision in their care.
Gait analysis is the application of technology in assessing movement. This enables us to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for our patients so that you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Why use gait analysis?
Being able to move efficiently is important when it comes to avoiding injuries. Having joints that are capable of providing ample movement and muscles that can produce sufficient force is vital when it comes to generating an efficient gait cycle. Stiff joints or weak muscles can limit our range of motion and the body finds ways of compensating for this which is what leads to biomechanical abnormalities.
Everyone walks in different ways and gait analysis allows us to find your own unique way of walking. It is used to assess, plan and treat individuals who may be suffering with conditions which are affecting their ability to walk naturally.
It is also commonly used in sports biomechanics in order to help athletes run more efficiently and to identify posture-related or movement-related problems amongst those with injuries.
There are different types of gait analysis and each is chosen to suit your individual needs which is what we will identify during your appointment.