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What are Orthotics?

Orthotics is a specialist field allied to medicine which focuses on the design, production and use of orthoses.

Orthoses are devices which are applied externally to any part of the body in order to prevent or correct deformity, promote or improve function of the affected area or assist in the reduction of pain.

A clinician that practices within the field of Orthotics is called an Orthotist.

podiatry or orthotics?

eople often ask whether they should be assessed by Podiatry or Orthotics? Indeed, there is some crossover between the professions, however there are some differences which are highlighted below.  Unsure as to which profession you require?  Call us on 093 33 825 for further advice.

Foot pain and injury.

Podiatry is a medical discipline involved in the treatment of disorders of the lower limbs, usually below the knee. This may require the provision of in-shoe Orthotic devices but can also mean more palliative interventions such as the treatment of skin lesions (calluses, ulcers etc).


Whilst the field of Orthotics has similarities with Podiatry, it encompasses the whole of the musculo-skeletal system and is aimed at providing a wide variety of externally applied Orthotic devices which will prevent or correct deformity and promote function. These range from relatively simple to extremely complex devices and can be made from traditional materials such as metal and leather to more modern materials such as plastics, carbon fibre and silicones.

Multidisciplinary Team

Podiatrists, Physiotherapists and Orthotists can often work in partnership to combine their skills and provide comprehensive and effective treatment solutions for their patients. In an HSE setting they work in a multidisciplinary (MDT) clinical environment.

How do Orthotics help?

1. Assist joint motion

When there is muscle weakness.

2. Prevent deformity

To help provide control of joints to prevent deformities that can occur from progressive conditions.

3. Improve body mechanics

Using forces from Orthoses to provide improved biomechanics when standing, walking or taking part in sports.

4. Resist joint motion

When the movement of a joint creates pain or instability.

5. Accommodate Deformity

To provide accommodation of deformities which may either create pain and discomfort or the possibility of the deformity becoming progressively worse.

6. Relieve weight

To reduce pain within weight bearing regions of the body.