FAQ (frequently asked questions)
What is this product?
Orthotics (arch supports that go in your shoes) are designed to align the body and balance weight properly helping to alleviate trouble with knees, hips, and your back. They are designed to evenly distribute your body weight in the arch of your foot reducing heel pain and bunions.
How much do they cost?
The price throughout New Zealand is $457. Our Medical Distributors may charge more or less than this price and may charge a consultation fee. Each pair has a life expectancy of around 10 to 15 years (5 year guarantee against breaking, cracking or splitting).
Can you wash them?
You don't have to wash them like you have to wash your socks! If you want to wash them, use warm soapy water, wipe them dry (or let them air dry) and they are good to go. They are not made of foam, which breaks down with time, nor are they made of leather, which holds moisture.
Can you run in these? Will they help?
You can run with our orthotics. The more impact you put on your feet, the more important it is to have your feet correctly balanced and aligned and your muscles working well. Keep in mind our orthotics are not a miracle cure - you cannot put them in and run a marathon straight away. One needs to break into them. After you are in them all day, then you can start a second easier break-in with your high impact activities.
How long does it take to get used to them?
That depends: some people wear them all day almost straight away, while others take upward of a month or more. It can take up to three months - not common, but possible. The usual break-in period is two to three weeks. We provide a written schedule to break into them. The few people who have trouble adjusting to our orthotics are nearly always those who try to wear them too much too soon.
Do these work for a diabetic?
YES! They increase circulation and aid in reducing pressure ulcers. The non-absorptive material can be washed daily if needed.
How do they work?
The Step Flex orthotic is the shape of a normal healthy foot. By working the muscle groups the foot adapts to that correct shape.
We select the correct size to match the length and width of your foot. The hard form is designed to support body weight to align your knees, hips and back. The flexing action of the orthotics is designed to exercise muscle groups, toning and stretching, increasing circulation (a diabetic benefit), thereby reducing fatigue.
Do they work?
Yes. They've been working for nearly 50 years! Many of these orthotics are sold through medical professionals like chiropractors, therapists and doctors. Yes, they DO work!
Have clinical trials been done to prove they work?
New drugs come on the market only after extensive "clinical trials" to prove their efficacy and safety. We are sometimes asked if Step Flex orthotics have been proven in such clinical trials. No one wants to be a guinea pig! We want to know that a treatment is both safe and effective. Medical devices, and drugs in particular, may not work or could lead to undesirable side-effects. Clinical trials have an important role to play in their verification before general use. However, they also have their limitations. Issues of history, specificity and cost make clinical trials for Step Flex orthotics not only unnecessary, but also irrelevant.
This style of orthotics were developed over a 20 year period commencing in the 1940's. They have now been used extensively by the public in many countries for decades. They have a 40+ year track record with a very high success rate.
While many devices are intended to affect only one specific condition, Step Flex orthotics play a role in a wide range of problems. Many people report benefits beyond the primary area of concern. How could this be assessed in a strict clinical trial?
Many drugs and devices are expensive because they require constant use or regular replacement. Step Flex orthotics cost around $40 a year (over a life of 10 to 15 years). To conduct clinical trials to prove that Step Flex orthotics assist in one single condition, say bunions, would be very expensive and add to the cost and price of the product. Then we would have to do it all over again to prove that they assist with back pain, then all over again for knee pain, then all over again for heel pain, and so on.
A small but valid trial was conducted by physiotherapists in Hamburg at a German university. It showed how these orthotics are effective in correcting functional leg-length difference. This is of particular interest to physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors. An abstract of that research is available to medical professionals on request.
Various research projects are currently being undertaken regarding the correction of bunions (hallux valgus) by medical professionals in the Netherlands. An abstract of that research will be available to medical professionals on request, once it is published.
Do you take a cast or a mould?
Our orthotics are NOT custom-made. That is the last thing we want to do! If we were to start with a copy of your bad foot we would start with all your misalignment. We want your foot to change. Regardless of the current shape of your foot (since it is wrong anyway) we provide your foot with the template for the perfect shape. With this bio-engineered balanced form we will work the muscle groups of the foot to adapt to the correct shape. On the other hand, we certainly do NOT say 'one size fits all'. On the contrary, we have dozens of different sizes so we can match the size of the bone structure of your feet.
Why don't podiatrists sell them?
Our orthotics are worn and sold by a wide variety of medical professionals, including some podiatrists, who have recognised the shortcomings of custom-made orthotics. Enquiries from podiatrists are welcome.
All feet are different. How can one shape be correct?
Feet do come in all shapes and sizes, not because they should be, but as the result of a failing of the muscles! The bones are essentially the same shapes, but the feet are different shapes because the muscles, ligaments & tendons have pulled the bones into those shapes, or have let them fall into those shapes. The Step Flex shape was perfected over about 20 years of research, analysis and experimentation in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. It has proven to be successful during the decades of extensive use since.