Book Online – Award Winning Award winning specialised podiatry care

Call: 01772 378812 | Email:

What are Orthotics, and How Are They Different from Insoles?

Orthotics, also known as orthotic devices or orthoses, are custom-made shoe inserts designed to support, align, and improve the function of the feet and lower limbs. They are specifically tailored to address an individual’s unique foot structure, gait, and biomechanics. Orthotics can be prescribed by podiatrists, orthopaedic specialists, or other healthcare professionals.

Insoles, on the other hand, are generic footbeds or cushioned inserts that are available over the counter (OTC) without a prescription. While they may offer some cushioning and comfort, they are not custom-made to address specific foot issues or correct biomechanical problems.

Are Bespoke Orthotics Better Than Over-the-Counter (OTC) Ones?

The effectiveness of orthotics depends on the specific needs of the individual and the nature of their foot or lower limb condition. Bespoke orthotics have several advantages over OTC insoles:

  1. Customised Support: Bespoke orthotics are custom-made based on a detailed assessment of the individual’s foot structure, gait, and biomechanics. They are specifically designed to address the person’s unique foot issues, providing more targeted support and alignment.
  2. Accurate Correction: OTC insoles offer generic support and may not effectively address the specific biomechanical abnormalities of an individual. Bespoke orthotics are precisely tailored to provide the correct correction and alignment needed to alleviate pain and improve foot function.
  3. Long-Term Relief: Custom-made orthotics offer long-term relief as they are designed to address the root cause of foot problems. OTC insoles may provide temporary relief but may not offer a lasting solution for more complex foot conditions.
  4. Durability: Bespoke orthotics are made from high-quality materials and are built to last, providing consistent support over time. OTC insoles may wear out quickly and may not provide adequate support after extended use.
  5. Professional Expertise: Prescribing bespoke orthotics requires the expertise of a trained podiatrist or orthopaedic specialist. They conduct a thorough assessment and take into account the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and activity level to design orthotics that suit their needs.

While OTC insoles can be a more affordable and readily available option for mild foot discomfort, they may not be suitable for complex foot conditions or long-term relief. For individuals with chronic foot pain, biomechanical issues, or specific medical conditions, bespoke orthotics offer a more effective and personalised solution.

If you are experiencing foot pain or discomfort, it is advisable to consult with a qualified podiatrist  who can conduct a comprehensive assessment and determine whether bespoke orthotics are the right choice for your individual needs. They can provide personalised recommendations and design orthotics to address your unique foot concerns, promoting better foot health and overall well-being.

What is the difference between Podiatrist and Chiropodist?

In the UK, the terms “podiatrist” and “chiropodist” have historically been used interchangeably to describe professionals who specialise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of foot and lower limb conditions. However, there has been a shift in recent years towards using the term “podiatrist” more commonly, and it is now the preferred and more widely recognized title for these healthcare professionals.

The key difference between the two terms lies in their historical origins and the level of education and training required to practice. In the past, “chiropodist” was commonly used to refer to professionals who focused on the treatment of general foot problems, while “podiatrist” was used to describe specialists who dealt with more complex foot conditions and underwent additional training.

Today, both chiropodists and podiatrists are considered to be foot and lower limb specialists, and the education and training for both professions are the same. Podiatrists in the UK typically undergo a three or four-year undergraduate degree in podiatry, which covers various aspects of foot and lower limb anatomy, biomechanics, medical conditions, and treatment techniques. After completing their degree, they may choose to specialise in certain areas, such as sports podiatry or diabetic foot care.

The shift towards using “podiatrist” as the preferred term is largely due to international standardisation and recognition of the profession. In many countries, including the United States and Australia, “podiatrist” is the standard title used to refer to foot specialists. As a result, the term “podiatrist” has become more widely accepted and recognised globally, leading to its increasing usage in the UK as well.

In summary, while “chiropodist” is still occasionally used in the UK, “podiatrist” is the preferred and more commonly used term for foot and lower limb specialists.

What does a Podiatrist do exactly and why would I ever need to see one?

A podiatrist is a healthcare professional who specialises in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of foot and lower limb conditions. Their expertise includes a wide range of issues related to the feet, ankles, and lower legs. Here’s a brief overview of what a podiatrist does and why you might consider seeing one:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis: Podiatrists conduct thorough assessments to evaluate the structure and function of your feet and lower limbs. They examine your gait (walking pattern), foot mechanics, and any areas of pain or discomfort.
  2. Treatment of Foot Conditions: Podiatrists can treat various foot conditions, such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, fungal infections, plantar warts, and bunions, among others.
  3. Biomechanical Analysis: They specialise in analysing how your feet and lower limbs function during movement. This analysis helps identify issues like overpronation, flat feet, or abnormal walking patterns that may contribute to pain or injuries.
  4. Orthotic Prescription: Podiatrists may prescribe custom orthotics, which are specialised shoe inserts designed to improve foot alignment, provide support, and relieve pain caused by biomechanical issues.
  5. Footwear Advice: They offer recommendations on appropriate footwear that suits your foot type and lifestyle, ensuring comfort and support.
  6. Sports Injuries: Podiatrists can diagnose and treat sports-related foot and lower limb injuries, providing rehabilitation and preventive care for athletes.
  7. Diabetes Foot Care: For individuals with diabetes, podiatrists play a crucial role in assessing and managing foot health to prevent complications.
  8. Nail Surgery: In cases of persistent ingrown toenails or other nail issues, podiatrists can perform minor surgical procedures to resolve the problem.

Why Would You See a Podiatrist?

You may consider seeing a podiatrist if you experience any of the following:

  1. Foot Pain: Persistent pain or discomfort in your feet, ankles, or lower legs.
  2. Nail Problems: Ingrown toenails, fungal infections, or other nail-related issues.
  3. Sports Injuries: Foot or lower limb injuries from sports or physical activities.
  4. Biomechanical Issues: If you have flat feet, high arches, or experience issues related to the way you walk or run.
  5. Diabetic Foot Care: If you have diabetes, regular podiatric check-ups are essential to prevent foot complications.
  6. Skin Conditions: Corns, calluses, plantar warts, or other skin-related problems on your feet.
  7. Routine Foot Care: Even if you don’t have specific problems, regular visits to a podiatrist for routine foot care can help maintain overall foot health.

Seeing a podiatrist can help you address and manage a wide range of foot and lower limb issues, improve your mobility, and maintain overall foot health and comfort. If you’re experiencing any foot-related concerns, it’s a good idea to consult a podiatrist for expert evaluation and appropriate care.

What is a corn?

A corn is a small, thickened area of skin that typically develops on the toes or the sides of the feet. It is caused by repeated friction or pressure on the skin, usually from wearing ill-fitting shoes or engaging in activities that put excess pressure on the feet. Corns can be painful and may have a hard or soft texture.

Corns are not contagious, so you cannot catch them from someone else. They are a localised skin condition that forms as a response to pressure or friction on specific areas of your feet. However, corns can be more common in certain groups of people, such as those who wear tight or uncomfortable footwear, have foot deformities, or have certain gait abnormalities.

To treat corns, it’s essential to address the underlying cause of the pressure or friction that led to their formation. This often involves wearing properly fitted footwear, using protective pads or cushions, and taking measures to reduce pressure on the affected areas.

If you have painful corns or are unsure about how to manage them effectively, it’s advisable to consult a podiatrist. A podiatrist can provide expert advice, safely remove the corns if necessary, and help you prevent their recurrence by addressing any foot-related issues contributing to their development.

Why are corn plasters dangerous?

Medicated corn plasters can be dangerous for several reasons:

  1. Skin Irritation: Medicated corn plasters often contain acids, such as salicylic acid, which are used to soften and remove the corn. However, these acids can also irritate the surrounding healthy skin, leading to redness, swelling, and pain.
  2. Burns and Blisters: Medicated corn plasters work by chemically breaking down the corn. If not used properly or left on for too long, they can cause chemical burns, blisters on the skin and ulcerations.
  3. Infection Risk: When a corn plaster causes irritation, burns, or blisters, it creates an open wound on the skin. This increases the risk of infection, especially for people with diabetes or other conditions that affect the immune system.
  4. Incorrect Use: Some individuals may misuse medicated corn plasters, using them on areas of the foot where they are not suitable. This can lead to damage to healthy skin or underlying tissues.
  5. Delay in Proper Treatment: Using medicated corn plasters may offer temporary relief from the discomfort of a corn, but they do not address the underlying cause. If the root cause of the corn, such as ill-fitting footwear or a biomechanical issue, is not addressed, the corn is likely to return.
  6. Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to the ingredients in medicated corn plasters, leading to allergic skin reactions.

Due to these potential risks, it is essential to use caution when considering medicated corn plasters. It is advisable to seek professional advice from a podiatrist to properly assess and treat corns. Podiatrists can provide safe and effective treatments for corns, which may include gentle removal, foot padding, orthotics, or footwear advice to prevent their recurrence. A podiatrist can also address any underlying foot issues that may contribute to corn formation, helping to prevent future problems and promote overall foot health.

I am a diabetic and I have been advised to see a podiatrist regularly, why?

As a diabetic, it is essential to regularly see a podiatrist for comprehensive foot care and monitoring. Diabetes can lead to a condition called diabetic foot, which increases the risk of developing various foot complications. Here are the main reasons why regular visits to a podiatrist are recommended for diabetics:

  1. Nerve Damage (Neuropathy): Diabetes can cause nerve damage, particularly in the feet, leading to reduced sensation. As a result, you may not feel pain or notice injuries, such as cuts or blisters, which can worsen without proper care.
  2. Poor Blood Circulation: Diabetes can affect blood circulation, impairing the flow of blood to the feet. This can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infection and other complications.
  3. Foot Ulcers: Due to reduced sensation and impaired healing, minor injuries on the feet, like blisters or cuts, can develop into ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers are serious and require prompt treatment to prevent infections and potential amputations.
  4. Infection Control: Diabetics are more susceptible to infections, and foot infections can be particularly dangerous. Regular podiatry visits allow for the early detection and treatment of any infections that may arise.
  5. Calluses and Corns: Diabetes can lead to the formation of calluses and corns, which can become problematic if not managed properly. Podiatrists can safely remove these, reducing the risk of complications.
  6. Foot Deformities: Diabetes can cause foot deformities, such as hammertoes or bunions, which can lead to pressure points and ulcers. A podiatrist can assess and provide appropriate interventions to address these issues.
  7. Footwear Recommendations: Proper footwear is crucial for diabetics to prevent injuries. A podiatrist can recommend suitable footwear that provides adequate support and reduces pressure on the feet.
  8. Education and Self-Care: Regular visits to a podiatrist provide opportunities for education about diabetic foot care. A podiatrist can teach you how to care for your feet at home and recognize warning signs of potential problems.

By working with a podiatrist regularly, you can ensure that any foot issues are detected early and managed effectively, reducing the risk of serious complications and maintaining good foot health. Remember that foot care is an essential part of diabetes management, and regular podiatry visits can significantly contribute to your overall well-being.

Book Online