Orthotic being grinded on a grinding machine

Foot support is the assistance that is provided to the feet to maintain their natural structure, alignment, and functionality. Correct foot support can reduce the risk of overstraining muscles, tendons, and ligaments by keeping your joints aligned and moving properly. It involves ensuring that your feet are properly cushioned, stabilised, and supported to prevent discomfort, pain and injury while standing, walking and engaging in activities.

Foot problems that can arise from a lack of correct foot support include:

  • Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterised by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot which connects the heel bone to the toes. Effective foot support plays a crucial role in managing plantar fasciitis by reducing strain on the plantar fascia and promoting healing.
  • Ingrown toenails occur when the edge or corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin instead of growing straight out. Which can result in pain, swelling, redness and sometimes could cause an infection. When dealing with ingrown toenails and proper foot support it is essential to minimise discomfort and prevent further irritation.
  • Calluses are areas of the foot that are thickened, hardened skin that develop in response to repeated friction, pressure or irritation. They serve as a natural protective mechanism to shield the skin from excessive rubbing or pressure. By prioritising foot support and footwear choices, individuals can reduce friction and irritation on the feet, which helps prevent the formation of calluses and promotes overall foot health comfort.
  • Heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the underside of the heel bone, they are caused by repetitive activities that place excessive stress on the heel, such as running or standing for long periods of time. Proper foot support is crucial or managing and reducing discomfort, choosing the right materials can reduce pressure on the heel.
  • Hammer toes are the deformity of the toes characterised by abnormal bending and curling of one or more toes. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to effectively managing hammer toes and preventing complications. It is essential to provide comfort and flexibility for the toes to prevent friction and irritation.
  • Flat feet is a common condition where the arches of the feet are flattened, causing the entire sole of the foot to make contact with the ground when standing. With the appropriate management and support, many individuals with flat feet can maintain an active lifestyle and manage any discomfort or complications.
  • Bunions are a common foot deformity characterised by a bony bump that forms on the base of the big toe, where it meets the foot, they develop gradually over time and can cause pain and discomfort. When having a bunion and selecting footwear it is important to make sure that they are comfortable and supportive to accommodate the bony prominence and reduce pressure on the affected area.

Foot support plays a vital role in maintaining foot health, preventing injuries, and promoting comfort and mobility in daily activities. Proper foot support helps to maintain the natural alignment of the foot, ankle, and lower limbs. Alignment is crucial for distributing body weight evenly across the foot and preventing excessive stress on specific areas which could then lead to discomfort, pain or injuries.

Stability is also important as it provides strength and balance, especially during activities such as walking or running. Supportive footwear will help stabilise the foot and ankle, reducing the risk of ankle sprains, falls and injuries. Supportive materials and cushioning in footwear help absorb the impact forces, which reduces the strain on the feet, ankles, knees and other joints helping to prevent overuse injuries and joint pain.

Proper foot support enhances comfort by reducing pressure points, friction and irritation on the feet. Supportive footwear with cushioned insoles, arch support and ample room for the toes promotes comfort during prolonged standing. To prevent foot problems, (above) supportive footwear and orthotic inserts can help correct biomechanical imbalances, relieve symptoms and promote foot health.

Foot Support via Orthotic Insoles

There are various types of foot support available in shoes, orthotic insoles and custom-made orthotics which are designed to address specific foot conditions or biomechanical issues:

  • Shoes with built-in arch support feature a contoured footbed or insole that helps support the natural arch of the foot. Arch support is beneficial for individuals with flat feet or high arches to promote stability and alleviate associated foot pain. https://www.algeos.com/arch-support-sleeves-for-plantar-fasciitis-tendonitis-heel-spurs-heel-neuromas
  • Cushioned shoes with extra padding or cushioning in the midsole and heel areas to absorb shock and provide comfort during walking or running. This is ideal for individuals who experience foot fatigue, joint pain or impact-related injuries. https://www.algeos.com/darco-all-round-long-term-closed-shoe is designed to aid in the mobility of individuals.
  • Stability shoes are designed to provide support and control excessive motion of the foot and ankle. They feature a firmer midsole and additional support structure to help prevent rolling inward of the foot and promote proper foot alignment. https://www.algeos.com/darco-relief-dual-plus-off-loading-shoe
  • Motion control shoes offer maximum support and control for severe overpronation or flat feet, as they feature a reinforced midsole, rigid heel counter, and medial post to limit excessive inward rolling of the foot and provide stability.
  • Minimalist shoes are lightweight, flexible footwear which are designed to mimic barefoot running or walking. They typically have a low-profile sole, minimal cushioning and a wide toe box to allow for natural foot movement and sensory. https://www.algeos.com/slimflex-amber-pronation-insoles-rearfoot-control-rigid-arch-contour
  • Orthotic-friendly shoes are designed with removable insole or extra depth to accommodate custom orthotic inserts. These shoes provide flexibility and versatility for individuals with specific foot conditions or biomechanical issues that require customised support and correction. https://www.algeos.com/darco-peg-contour-insole-relief-dual-medsurg-medsurg-pro
  • Diabetic shoes are designed to provide comfort, protection and support for individuals with diabetes and sensitive feet. They are soft, seamless, cushioned and extra room to reduce pressure points and prevent injuries. https://www.algeos.com/darco-gentle-step-wide-fit is designed to provide ultimate comfort and protection and is constructed with special materials to reduce friction and pressure.
  • Orthotic Insoles are specialised to provide support, stability and alignment for the feet, ankles and lower limbs. There are various types of orthotics to address different foot conditions.
  • Semi-rigid Orthotics offer a balance of support and flexibility making them suitable for individuals who require both stability and cushioning. They are made from materials that provide rigidity.
  • Soft Orthotics are made from cushioning materials such as foam or gel and are designed to provide shock absorption and pressure relief, which are designed for individuals with sensitive feet. https://www.algeos.com/interpod-soft-0-full-length-low-stiffness is manufactured with superior shock absorption, providing a combination of immediate comfort and support.

Functional orthotics are specifically designed to improve biomechanical alignment and correct abnormal foot motion during gait, they are prescribed for individuals to enhance performance and prevent injuries.

Custom-made orthotics often utilise a variety of materials to provide personalised support, cushioning, and correction for the feet. Some common materials used in custom orthotics include;

  • Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Foam – EVA is a lightweight and flexible material commonly used in orthotics for its cushioning properties. It provides shock absorption and pressure relief making it ideal for cushioned insoles and orthotic inserts. Algeos supplies EVA in various densities, thicknesses and colours, which can also be converted into various formats, including sheets, blocks, parts and components. Click here for more information on EVA - https://www.algeos.com/o-p-materials/foam-sheeting/eva-foam
  • Poron is a high-performance urethane which is an open, breathable technology foam specifically designed for the orthopaedic and footwear expenses. It is frequently used in custom orthotics to provide cushioning and comfort, especially in areas prone to pressure points. Poron foam materials offer the best solutions for cushioning, footwear, impact resistance and biomechanical support, click her to find out why https://www.algeos.com/poron-landing
  • Polypropylene Plastics – These are rigid plastics often used in the shell or base of custom orthotics to provide structural support and control foot motion. The shell of custom orthotics helps stabilise the foot and correct biomechanical imbalances. Algeos has in house cutting and splitting capabilities on site, where we can manufacture and convert materials to almost any specification. Click here for more information on plastics for orthotics - https://www.algeos.com/o-p-materials/plastics
  • Leather is a durable and breathable material that is often used to cover the top layer of custom orthotics. It provides a smooth and comfortable surface for the foot and helps to prevent friction. It is known for its ability to conform to the shape of the foot making it ideal for use in orthotic products. Its natural properties and ability to conform to the use of the foot makes it an ideal choice for those seeking support and comfort in their feet – click here for more information - https://www.algeos.com/o-p-materials/leathers