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March 1, 2012
When pain follows exercise, the solution might be getting yourself fitted for foot
orthotics, CPL Nick Wiseman reports.
Answer to all the
WITH ADF members constantly
on the go at work, PT and sport,
some may experience pain in the
knees, ankles or feet. What they
may not realise is a lot of these problems can
now be corrected by using orthotics.
A foot orthotic is a device used to correct
a variety of functional problems with the
feet such as alignment issues.
With the physical demand required by
members of the ADF, podiatrist Matthew
Hotchkis said the most common problems he
came across were shin and knee related.
"Pain is a big factor. Ongoing and regular
pain with exercise or day-to-day living could
potentially need an orthotic," Mr Hotchkis said.
Although many people might experience
pain from time to time it does not necessarily
mean they should be prescribed orthotics.
The use of orthotics in different footwear
will depend on each case and can vary from
being worn in most footwear or physical activ-
UNDER current ADF policies, a permanent
member is eligible for one pair of prescribed
orthotics at public expense when approved
by a medical officer (MO). Additional orthot-
ics may be issued at the discretion of the
MO if deemed necessary.
More information on orthotics can be found in
Health Directive No 257 available online at http://
All referrals to a podiatrist must be made
by a medical officer.
If orthotics are required, part of the process
involves taking a plaster cast of the foot or cre-
ating a computer-generated three-dimensional
image of the foot using a scanner.
Once this cast or image has been made,
it is then sent to a lab for an orthotic to be
After the initial fitting, a check-up will be
scheduled to review the initial prescription.
Off-the-shelf orthotics are available as an
alternative from many footwear shops and
Mr Hotchkis said an off-the-shelf orthotic
could provide extra support.
"A lot of people presenting for prescribed
orthotics quite often are already using an off-
"Off-the-shelf orthotics can be adjusted
slightly using heat moulding for a better fit."
Whether you are in pain or not, Mr
Hotchkis said a shoe change alone could quite
often correct problems people experience.
"Some shoes can overcorrect -- therefore
it's important to get a shoe which correctly
supports the foot," he said.
"For those who have orthotics already, it's
important to select a shoe that will comple-
ment the orthotic."
Easy fix: Orthotics in your boots might make a
world of difference.
Photo by LAC Bill Solomou
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