Here we try to answer the most commonly asked questions about Podiatry and Chiropody treatments provided in our Northampton and Stony Stratford Clinics.

What are orthotics?

Podiatrists specialising in foot biomechanics will sometimes prescribe functional foot orthotics. These are in-shoe devices that subtly alter the way the feet work to help relieve overloaded or overworked structures in the feet and legs.  They affect the whole weight-bearing system i.e.  feet, legs, pelvis low spine and all between these structures such as muscles, ligaments, fascia and joints. Bespoke orthotics are made to a prescription and are made exactly to the shape of your feet and as such are usually very comfortable to use.

Orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist should not be confused with ‘over the counter’ arch supports. While these generic arch supports will occasionally help relieve symptoms in some foot types they do not properly control foot function and will not properly fit the feet which can cause problems.

What conditions are orthotics prescribed for?

There are many conditions that can be helped with orthotics. Arch pain, heel pain, back pain, knee pain, leg pain, and ankle pain are some common conditions that orthotics can help ease.

Are special orthotics required for sports?

Standard orthotics are appropriate for most activities but for distance walking and most weight-bearing sports “sports” orthotics are recommended as they offer more flexibility and shock-absorption. Sports orthotics are available in a variety of forms, general purpose and those designed for the demands of a specific sport. Your Podiatrist will recommend the most appropriate for you.

Will orthotics correct my foot problem?

Orthotics change function to relieve symptoms and while they will change the function of structures they will not permanently correct foot structure to offer relief.  By improving function they will minimise deterioration of structures and therefore the development of deformities.  They are more analogous to glasses that help you focus than braces on teeth which offer permanent change to the tooth position.

Will orthotics fit in all my shoes?

There are different types of orthoses. Some offer more control than others and are therefore better for you. Dress shoe orthotics are slimmer with more flexibility and will fit a wider range of shoes.  Some shoes have such high heels or are so low cut that they cannot be used with an orthotic. Women have more fitting problems than men, due to shoe fashion. It is possible to find dress shoes that will accommodate orthotics, but there will be less choice. The dress shoe orthotics fit more easily into fashionable shoes. Discuss with your podiatrist if these are suitable for you.

I got new aches and pains wearing my orthotics. Is this normal?

You should give your body chance to adapt to the new working position orthotics encourage. Orthotics make new demands on the body. If you do not give your body enough time to get used to the new working positions you may develop discomfort. This is usually in the in the foot or leg. This is normal and typically disappears after two or three weeks.  Your Podiatrist will advise you to make contact if you have any concerns about this.

Why do diabetics need to take extra care of their feet?

Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the feet which can reduce sensation. This result could be that Diabetics might not be able to feel things as well as they ought to. Damage to the skin may not be felt or heal quickly. The feet need to be watched and any cuts or abrasions dressed. Water temperature should be measured not felt.

What are orthotics and why might I need them?

Orthotics are in-shoe devices that subtly alter foot and leg mechanics to help reduce loads on various structures, some of which may have been overloaded.

Will I be expected to do anything between my treatments?

Appropriate footwear and hosiery play an important role in maintaining foot health. How much and what you will be advised to do between treatments will depend on what you are having treated and the treatment type.  Skin conditions will sometimes require some form of care but other complaints might require an exercise/stretching program to be followed. You might be advised to alter your training routine. Any care that is required to be carried out by you will be fully explained to you by your podiatrist / chiropodist.

I have an ingrown toenail. Do I need the whole nail removed?

In 30 years of practice Adam has never had to remove the whole nail for an ingrown nail. Hospital Doctors often remove the complete nail but this is unnecessary.  Adam only removes the offending section of nail.  Sometimes a local anaesthetic is needed.

How many Podiatry/Chiropody treatments will I need?

This varies considerably depending on many factors, including the type of condition and the individual person. Some foot complaints will require regular care. Adam strongly encourages preventative foot care and will advise on how to avoid certain problems from returning. An indication of treatment frequency and duration will be discussed during the initial assessment.

What can I expect with Podiatry/Chiropody treatment?

Your appointment will involve a thorough assessment, diagnosis and management plan. Clear explanations regarding conditions will be given and comprehensive advice provided. There is plenty of time for discussion and for you to ask questions. Most treatments are painless and often offer instant relief.

What conditions can Podiatrists / Chiropodists treat?

Podiatrists can help with most problems related to the foot and lower limb. This can range from nail conditions to minor surgery and altering foot mechanics with orthotics.

Who benefits from chiropody / podiatry?

Podiatrists / Chiropodists see people of all ages with a vast range of conditions.  From children to the elderly and from ingrown toenails to sports injuries.

Do I need a referral to a Podiatrist?

Although many of Adam’s patients are referred to him it is not requirement. If you think that you may have a problem then you can self-refer.

Call us on 01604 622999 to make an appointment.

What should I look for when I want to find a private podiatrist/chiropodist?

Only the titles podiatrist and chiropodist are protected by law. Other foot related titles are unregulated by the Health Professions Council (HPC). Consulting an HPC registered Podiatrist/Chiropodist shows they are regulated by a government body and therefore genuine. To verify that your practitioner is HPC registered you can check the HPC register at: www.hpc-uk.org

The phrases and letters you should now look for are (there may be one or more after their name)

  • Registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC Registered)
  • MChS Member of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
  • FCPodMed Fellow of The College of Podiatric Medicinev