Hi everyone. I say everyone, but as this is a brand new blog, the likelihood of anyone else out there reading it has to be slim surely! I need to begin with a brief explanation as to why I’m writing this blog, and what the intended purpose of it will be.
I work in a place called the Quays Orthotic Practice, which is situated in a beautiful setting, just on the outskirts of Lincoln in the UK. This is all fairly unremarkable stuff thus far I guess. The main issue, and the one thing many of you (there I go again, assuming there are ‘many’) will already be thinking, is ‘what on earth are orthotics, and what is an ‘Orthotist’? The reason this is not really well known, particularly in the UK yet, is that whilst there is provision for Orthotics within the National Health Service, this has often come under a variety of headings, and has been done through a number of different departments. Anyone from a consultant, to a podiatrist, to an appliance officer have at times, been seen as the people who provide ‘orthotics’.
In recent times however, this has primarily become the domain of the ‘Orthotist’ – a qualified and HCPC registered clinician, who has a specialist degree-level qualification, which makes them a specialist in biomechanics, and not simply of the lower limb. So what is biomechanics? If you consider the skeleton in terms of being a scaffold, then it holds up the body, and gives us form and stability. If a scaffold was not set or secured correctly, then it would be a shaky and unsafe structure; the same is true for the skeleton. If we don’t have a perfect ‘frame’, and most of us don’t, then we will encounter issues along the way. Effectively, the job of an Orthotist is to assist in bracing or strengthening our skeletal structure, in order that we are not ‘shaky’ ourselves. Much of the pain we live with, from the feet upwards to the neck and beyond, is potentially attributable to this unsound frame, and simple and often non-invasive assistance, reduces the pain, increases our mobility, and helps us lead happier lives all round.
Don’t get me wrong, orthotics aren’t miracle cures, but neither are they simple temporary pain relief. The aim here is to address the cause of the pain, thus reducing the need for other pain relieving interventions, such as medication, acupuncture, physiotherapy, massage, or simply ‘grinning and bearing it’!
What I hope to achieve through this blog, is to provide some details, on a monthly basis, about the kinds of issues we can encounter in terms of our general health and mobility, and discuss how orthotics can ‘often’ be a solution. This is NOT an aid to internet self-diagnosis, as this is the almost certain way to make a problem seem worse, or actually be worse with the incorrect intervention; it is instead designed to be an easy to read and digest guide to how orthotics can help, and potentially where you can go to seek the professional assistance you need.