What is an insole?
An insole is a contoured orthotic device which alters the characteristics and biomechanics of the foot and ankle. They are removable devices placed inside a shoe to provide additional support for your feet and joints.
Orthotic insoles do not change the structure of the foot but will help to realign the joints and compensate for other anomalies by adding support and increasing comfort. As well as providing shock absorption, an insole can help distribute the weight of your body more effectively across the foot, provide increased arch support and improve heel stability.
They can be used to treat a range of conditions, from plantar fasciitis to Metatarsalgia. For more information see the conditions treated section below.
At LOC we manufacture all our bespoke insoles onsite at our Kingston-upon-Thames clinic, using advanced scanning technology that measures the precise shape of your foot. This helps us to understand which parts of your feet need additional support. Once made, we then carry out any final adjustments necessary to ensure that your insole is truly bespoke to both your condition and the shape of your foot.
We make our bespoke foot insoles from different densities of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) which is a foam-like plastic that can be reinforced if necessary, with each different density corresponding to the amount of cushioning and support required, which can be split throughout any one insole. Normally there will be higher density material to the back of the foot where more support is generally needed and lower density to the forefoot where more cushioning is required. We can also create carbon fibre orthoses for more supportive insoles, though carbon fibre cannot be manipulated once it has been produced. While it’s rigid and provides excellent support, it is not always the answer to a lot of common and less common foot problems.
Why choose bespoke insoles?
Your feet are unique, which means that your walking pattern – or gait – is unique, too. What’s more, foot-related conditions, such as bunions or hammer toe, also affect the way in which you walk. A bespoke insole is designed and manufactured to fit your foot alone. At the London Orthotic Consultancy, we custom-make insoles at our clinic in Kingston-upon-Thames, using the very latest orthotic foot scanning technology.
Standard insoles are not as effective as bespoke simply because they cannot be individually tailored to correct specific biomechanical issues. Off-the-shelf products tend to be sold based on shoe size, but most of us do not have a standard size, or, indeed, symmetrical feet. These insoles are often cut to fit but they simply don’t offer the same level of precision as a bespoke product.
As well as standard insoles not addressing specific conditions, they also tend to have a shorter lifetime than bespoke insoles. If we want to add a soft area to the insole we can do, if we want to stabilise an area we can do. We can thin an area down, make it thicker, increase the arch – anything is possible with our system, so we are not limited once it’s constructed. Because we manufacture all our insoles onsite this gives us incredible flexibility when fine-tuning your insoles at the fitting stage.
Insoles can maintain their quality for around 3 years though if you use more than one pair at the same time, they are likely to last longer.
We offer a discount when you buy 2 pairs of insoles in the same fitting for customers needing more than one pair, or different insoles for different shoes. Our standard service insoles are £400, and if you purchase two at the same time, you can pay an extra £130 for the additional pair, which works out at £265 per pair.
Insoles can be useful in treating a number of conditions and can provide additional comfort and help reduce the risk of further damage, particularly in runners.
Heel spurs – these are tiny, protruding calcium deposits that form near the base of the heel bone causing inflammation to the surrounding soft tissue.
Shin splints – a common ailment in runners, this is a general term used to describe exercise-induced pain or tenderness along the inside of the lower leg but often felt centrally along the front of the shin.
Bunions – this is a deformity of the big toe characterised by a painful, bony lump that develops on the joint at the base of the toe.
Hammer toes – a painful deformity of the three middle toes, where the toes are always bent. It can either be flexible, with some flexibility in the joint, or rigid, in which the joint has moved out of alignment and the toe is unable to move.
Sesamoiditis – characterised by pain at the base of the big toe, this condition is caused by inflammation of two tiny bones called the sesamoid bones. Their job is to hold the tendons away from the joint in the big toe.
Plantar Fasciitis – this is the most common form of heel pain and occurs when the plantar fascia ligament along the bottom of the foot develops tears in the tissue. The pain is often described as burning, stabbing or aching in the heel and tends to be particularly acute when getting up.
Metatarsalgia – often described as like walking barefoot on pebbles, this is not a specific condition, but rather a symptom of other problems with the foot. It is characterised by pain in the ball of the foot underneath the metatarsal bones.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome – a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee and around the knee-cap. It is the most common running injury, although non-runners can suffer from it, too, particularly desk-bound office workers.
Posterior Tibialis dysfunction – an important tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot, the posterior tibialis tendon holds up the arch and supports the foot when walking. Dysfunction pain is commonly found along the course of the tendon itself and is likely to be more severe during activities such as running. It can be progressive if left untreated and lead to severe rigid flat feet.
We also produce orthotic insoles for use in a range of sporting activities, such as skiing and running. Runners generally tend to be high-wear users, with less specific symptoms and no strict pathology which means generic ‘off the shelf’ insoles do not always work. A bespoke orthotic insole can help with what are often described as ‘niggles’ that cause a runner to feel pain after long periods, such as during marathon training.
Running insoles are made from lower density material to allow more movement across the foot than is needed for insoles specific to a condition.