Has anyone had specialist orthotics made using NHS?

Has anyone had specialist orthotics made using NHS?

As I've mentioned on here before I have had a lot of problems with my hips which have had a huge affect on my walking. However I just came back from a trip to the new forest and was taking the dog out each day while using some shop bought inserts in my wellies. It wasn't ideal but for some reason I seemed to manage a lot better than I normally do - I was sleeping better and not doing anything else but rest which probably helped and the ground was totally flat everywhere whereas at home I have slopes as soon as I step outside the door which cause huge problems with my hips. But yesterday we found a wooded walk that was very shaded and all flat and I managed to do a 1 mile circular route which is unbelievable - I can usually barely walk to the car and back. I struggled as soon as we hit an open field and it was sunny so it's clear that this is the main cause of problems for me and this morning my stomach has been so bad I wasn't sure we were going to be able to drive home so I paid the price. And my calves are absolutely killing me as the muscles there were doing all the work. But although I was in pain doing it it was nowhere near the level I usually get and it really helped that the insoles stopped my hips/ankles/knees rolling out as much as normal.

It did get me wondering if specialist orthotics would help though. Does anyone else use them and for what cause? Did they help? And is it possible to get this sorted on the NHS or have you had to go privately?

Oh and the walk was beautiful - found by accident but I thought that with the photosensitivity I'd miss out on countryside views now but this was a gem and perfect shading for me 😊

19 Replies

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  • Yes I had shoe inserts made by specialists orthotics. I've had for hip bursitis as the consultant said I'm out of line walking as my one leg is now shorter than the other. All so painful. I find walking very difficult & now been diagnosed with myosotis in my legs.

  • Thank you. Mine is hip bursitis as well so I might well see about discussing this with my gp to see if we can get me a referral. Hope you get some relief from yours soon - I know the bursitis on walking is a pain I simply can't describe as it's not like anything else I've ever had so you have my sympathies xx

  • Hi mifford

    I can sympathise with hip bursitis as I've had it and it's so painful!. Your GP can do either a steroid injection or a local anaesthetic injection into the area to give relief. I've had both and been greatly helped. I've found two lots of injections were needed on separate occasions to cure it!. Have had it in both legs. Have tried orthotics but they made me worse, glad you've had benefit and you had a lovely trip. New forest looks beautiful!. Take CareX

  • It's yonks ago but I had a pair of carbon-fibre partial orthotics paid for by the NHS when I lived in Durham. They were ACE!

  • Thanks - hopefully it won't be such a hard sell for my gp and I'll be more confident pitching it knowing others have been referred for it :)

  • It was actually my neighbour who was a chiropodist who told me who I should ask to see. And she was fantastic - she just looked at me walking and then from behind standing. Knew exactly what was needed and measured etc and that was it! I'd had soft orthotics from Dundee orthotics department which were useless - her hard carbonfibre ones did what it said on the tin. It did take a while to get used to them as you could feel the edges under your foot at first.

  • My ex got good NHS orthotics which helped a great deal with his lower back pain. They were very stiff ones, but that's as much as I know. That's such a pretty place to walk, by the way!

  • It was stunning and found by pure accident - pulled up somewhere to walk the dog that had a toilet as I needed to go! Lol. Followed the path as it led into the woods and found a marked walk that ran for 1 mile on the short one or 2 miles on the long one. Not been to the new forest in years and forgot how stunning it can be 😊

  • My daughter had NHS orthotics from a fairly young age due to hypermobility. They did seem to be carefully designed and did help.

    I also had NHS orthotics due to having flat feet and "very mobile" joints between my foot bones, but they seemed to be very basic wedges, like the cheapest variety one buys over the counter in Boots.

    So it probably varies. But in either case, there was no difficulty in getting the referral x

  • The physio told me I'm hypermobile in my hips and hinge wrong whatever that means. And I know when I used to run (seems like a lifetime ago now!) getting running trainers fitted was always a problem as I over pronate but I also have high arches .. so my ankles roll in but my knees roll out or something - I know it always left them bemused but I never understood it 😊 Sounds like I have a good argument

  • My physio said I'm hypermobile, too. I said I thought it might be due to ballet training when we were encouraged to turn the hips out ( this was just young girl ballet, nothing more serious than a handful of certificates passed). Her reply was that you need the extra mobility to be able do that. In my case, compensating for the pelvic/hips pain might knock my knees out of alignment. Gone as far as I can with the physio,

    The mobility is interesting. Have a nephew who, from the age of two, could leap a great height and land in perfect splits. He still does a lot of dance as a hobby. My younger son can put his hands on a table, fingers out, then twist his forearm to make his elbows bend the wrong way. He often did this when being told off at school. Teachers would rapidly forget what he was in trouble for! He showed me how to do it, I practised, then once decided to leave a boring meeting early. I got up and hurried through what I had to say, doing the elbow trick at the same time!

    By the way, none of us has dislocated anything

  • I've never been double jointed to be able to do that but the physio seemed to think there may have been an excess of "bendiness" when I was younger without me being aware of it. I used to be able to put my forearms on the floor and didn't think anything of it as I used to stretch a lot at the gym so assumed it was because of that. My gp when I was having a medical at school at 11 or 12 was surprised at how far my leg lifted and the way my back over arched and thought I did gymnastics although I never did. Because it's gone on so long though I move in ways that hide it apparently and the other muscles and joints are so tight that it's not obvious. Even doing Pilates with the physio they couldn't see when I was using the wrong joint unless they actually held my hips in place. And when I bend forward my back stays totally flat - it wasn't until the physio showed me how far she could bend doing the same and got me to try and bend with my back curving over that I discovered how odd it was. She was fascinated by it so at least I'm an interesting oddity if nothing else lol

  • Oh and I did once partially dislocate my shoulder when I slipped on ice ... it didn't totally leave the joint but it looked like it didn't rotate properly when I watched it in the mirror and it was a continually niggling pain ... rolled over on my side and tried to push myself up with that arm and it suddenly hurt like hell. Large pop and I felt it go back in and the pain stopped. The doctor thought I was imagining it when I told him until I lifted my arm when he was examining it and it popped slightly out and back in again!

  • Yikes!

  • Yep, the department you need is bio mechanics. I'm the same: double jointed and high arches. I can't walk properly on uneven surfaces and my ankle feels as if I've ripped the tendons. My rheumy referred me, they watch you walk and then make up the orthotics based on what you need. In my case, they 'centre' me. Basically they push me back onto my heels as I was walking on the side and on my toes. They've spread the pressure equally, and I can honestly tell you they've really helped!

  • Awesome thank you Aimi40 - I get a lot of muscle tightness in my ankles as well and my right calf goes so tight it feels like it'll snap. Uneven surfaces and any kind of slope, no matter how tiny and barely noticeable, and I just simply can't do it without excessive pain. If my gp won't refer I might see if rheumy will cross refer in that case. After the replies on here it's definitely something I'm going to look into methinks 😊

  • be carefull with the nhs authotics one with me said i had short left leg other said i was ok i didnt like the way they messure me either with the short left leg with a tape messure

  • Update on this one - the doctor told me not to go down the NHS orthotics route as she's never seen it help anyone she's ever referred to it and it means changing all my shoes etc etc and advised me to buy some insoles for plantar fasciitis and they are generally as good. Not sure I totally believe her on that one but things have moved on now anyway - it works out my hip problems aren't down to bursitis but FAI with bone overgrowth causing it (based on x ray) so now being referred to specialist physios to see where we go from there. It could be they refer me for orthotics or possibly an op to try and fix it before my hips get totally wrecked so will go from there.

  • The ones I got from the Dundee orthotics department were useless in every sense (given their limbfitting centre is world renowned you'd have thought they could have done better), couldn't find any shoes to put them in bar trainers a size too big - but after I moved to Durham my chiropodist neighbour gave me the name of a podiatrist who worked out of the hospital. She took one look at how I stood and identified the problem. She had thin, hard orthotics made of carbon fibre made for me - wonderful!

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