In these days of convenience and on-line shopping, we are all often tempted into a purchase that we wouldn’t necessarily otherwise make had we more time, and yes, more money. Finding yourself in pain, turning to the famous on-line search engine for a speedy diagnosis, and then purchasing something that can be delivered the next morning is now far too common. This is also causing problems for many, as firstly, our trained, experienced and registered medics and clinicians, can never be replaced by the internet, largely, as it can only provide you with stock answers to a series of set questions, and this is not how a face-to-face consultation works in the real world, or at least it shouldn’t. This problem is exasperated by TV and social media advertising, which tempt us with the perfect cure for just about anything, for a few pounds and available at the click of a mouse or on your mobile phone. It was only the other day, when I saw a TV advertisement for a device which claimed to ‘cure’ plantar fasciitis, back pain, and basically have you walking miles ‘just like you used to’. I obviously cannot categorically state that this device has no benefit to any of these, or other conditions, but the chances are slim at best.

The same is now true with orthotics. As these are becoming more ‘common’ or well known, there are adverts out there for a whole range of different types, all of which claim to solve a problem. My first question has to be however…….. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR ‘PROBLEM’ IS? Unless you have been examined by a qualified Orthotist, how do you actually know what the problem is? To purchase something, whether it costs £5 or £5000, without knowing what its is you are trying to achieve is frankly ridiculous. If your car suddenly developed a fault, you wouldn’t automatically go out and buy Big End Bearings on the off chance that this might solve the problem would you. To rush out and buy an ankle brace because of pain in this region would be just as random.

There are a whole range of insoles available ‘off the shelf’, ranging from simple foam, to gel, to plastic and beyond. As previously noted, the fundamental problem here, is that you have no way of knowing if these are going to play any part in reducing pain or increasing mobility. They may even cause a bigger issue elsewhere in the body. The worst case scenario, is that they change your posture, and what may have been pain in the foot or ankle, can suddenly become a serious back problem, or neck, or hips and so on – I’m sure you get the picture. The other concern here, is that using such a stock item, may also inadvertently mask a more serious issue somewhere else, that may go further undetected.

The issue isn’t just insoles here either, as there are a whole range of ‘braces’ or tube-style bandages that cause the same concerns for healthcare professionals. Bracing your knee for example, may provide immediate relief, but if this is masking a more significant problem elsewhere, then the problem is not being solved, but is potentially being worsened.

Whilst these items may well be cheaper, they are often a false economy, as they will end up either not working at all, or for very long if they do. I hear the phrase ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ so often these days, and this is so true in this case. There is no better course of action than getting checked out by a qualified, experienced, and HCPC registered Orthotist, be this through the NHS or privately. I’ve already used the broken down car analogy, and here it is again – this is the same as taking your poorly car to a reputable establishment to have it correctly diagnosed and repaired, as this will be the only way that you will have peace of mind driving it in the future.

So, to manage pain and increase your mobility, book an appointment today to help you on the road to getting the right treatment, at the right cost, and with the right devices where required.

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