Sensorimotor Orthotics

Sensorimotor orthotics represent an interesting alternative to traditional foot orthotic treatment. The goal of both treatments is to address biomechanical issues in the feet, legs and back by correcting any foot misalignment that may be contributing to the problems. However, the two methods go about it in very different ways.

Traditional foot orthotics support and stabilize the foot to improve skeletal alignment and reduce pain. They are described as passive support in the sense that the orthotic is doing the work of correcting the foot by supporting the ligaments and bones. Traditional orthotics also work to distribute weight more effectively across the sole to alleviate pressure or impact related discomfort.

Sensorimotor orthotics aim to correct improper foot alignment by stimulating the muscles in the feet and lower legs. This stimulation causes the central nervous system to respond by relaxing or tensioning the muscles accordingly. This muscle activity works to improve joint alignment, thereby reducing pain. This is a significant difference from traditional foot orthotics in that sensorimotor orthotics provide more of an active support as the muscles are trained to function more effectively. In some cases this even allows for long-term correction of the biomechanical issue through the improvement of muscle function.

Traditional foot orthotics have been helping people reduce their pain and increase their activity level for decades, and for many people, they will continue to be an important part of their treatment plan. For some people, sensorimotor orthotics provide a viable alternative, one that has particularly exciting applications for children and people dealing with neurological conditions. This includes stroke patients as well as those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions.

An assessment with your Canadian Certified Pedorthist can help determine which treatment option would be best for you. Call Soles in Motion and book a mini-assessment to find out what is best for you.

Written by Canadian Certified Pedorthist Graham Gilbert

Let’s talk about your kneecap in motion

The medical term for your kneecap is patella. Patella tracking disorder can also be referred to as Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), anterior knee pain or maltracking. It is one of the most common causes of knee pain. The kneecap is a separate bone that’s attached to your thigh bone (femur) at the top and your big shin bone (tibia) by powerful tendons and ligaments. It is a type of bone that forms within a tendon to give a mechanical advantage to the knee. When it’s working properly, the kneecap glides in a groove that’s near the end of your thighbone called the trochlear groove.

Symptoms can include pain, swelling when squatting, jumping, running or just walking; a grinding or catching feeling when you bend or a feeling that your knee is giving out under you. Pain varies depending on the severity of the disorder. Patellar tracking disorder is more common in women and can affect older people because of the arthritis in the knee joint.

Injuries from sports, overuse, or trauma can cause the patella to move slightly off and not track properly. In most cases, the kneecap shifts to the outside of the leg, but it can also move towards the inside. Patellar tracking disorder comes from the high stress on the knee especially in sports, muscle weakness, or structural abnormalities. Diagnosis can be difficult because it is part of a wide range of conditions with similar symptoms.

So let’s talk about where to start! Stretching and strengthening exercises, knee braces and proper footwear or insoles to assist with alignment.

As a bracing specialist, I highly recommend you come in and be educated on how braces can help. Try them on and you will be able to feel the effect they will have. There are various braces that help, some more aggressive than others. Just because one works for your friend does not mean it will work for you. All braces fit and act a little differently. As experts, we want to make sure the brace you buy is the right brace for you to get you moving pain-free as quickly as possible.

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Brace Specialist, Soles in Motion

Compression Socks – Get ahead of the game with prevention!

Compression socks provide effective relief for tired legs and venous diseases. Preventative compression is particularly important for those with healthy veins and lymphatic vessels in reducing the risk of developing edema and similar conditions.  Sometimes there is confusion between support hose and compression therapy.  The difference between is that support hose have the same elasticity along the entire length of the stockings.  Medical stockings have the greatest compression at the ankle and gradually decrease up the leg.  By constricting the diameter of the veins, the stockings increase the blood flow.  The compression also keeps fluids in circulation instead of collecting and causing swelling in the ankle/foot.

Sports and performance compression socks and sleeves help athletes maximize their performance and incorporate wicking materials to keep them cool. They provide valuable support for every discipline in both amateur and competitive sports. Lactic acid is your body’s way of telling you you’re doing too much, and listening to it and tailoring your workout is the best thing to do.  Wearing medical great sports compression both during and after exercise is one of the best ways to stabilize the muscles and recover from fatigue and pain.

Here are some tips on how you can help keep your legs healthy.

  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Your circulation improves with physical activity, so GET UP! Take a short walk, climb stairs, or make an effort to move around the office and at home.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting or standing as this may increase leg pain and swelling.
  • Elevate your legs. To boost your body’s natural circulation, elevate your legs while you are sitting on the sofa or lying in bed at home.
  • At the office, keep a foot rest under your desk.
  • Regular exercise, staying active, controlling your weight helps keep your body healthy.
  • When you manage your weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise, you are more likely to have less leg symptoms and/or less swelling.

It is important that you be assessed by a professional who takes all aspects of your health, life style and body type into consideration.  Most insurance companies cover compression if prescribed by a medical professional.

Soles in Motion invites you to drop in and talk to our professionals about the many styles, materials, colors of compression – we are here to help and keep you moving no matter what your abilities!

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Owner, Certified Fitter, Soles in Motion, 133 Baker Drive, Dartmouth

Indoor sports injuries and the role of orthotics and proper footwear


In recent years, the popularity of indoor sports has surged, drawing enthusiasts of all ages to partake in activities ranging from basketball and volleyball to indoor soccer and pickleball. While these activities offer a plethora of health benefits, they also come with the risk of injuries. Healthcare clinics play a vital role in addressing and preventing these injuries, at Soles in Motion we have a particular focus on the use of orthotics, braces, and proper footwear. This article explores the common indoor sports injuries and how orthotics, along with appropriate footwear, can be instrumental in promoting injury prevention and overall well-being.

The Landscape of Indoor Sports Injuries

Indoor sports, with their fast-paced nature and quick direction changes, combined with hardwood floors, often lead to a variety of injuries. Sprained ankles, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis/tendinitis, and knee injuries are some of the common afflictions that athletes may face. These injuries can result from factors such as inadequate warm-up, improper technique, or insufficient support for the feet and ankles during physical activities.

Understanding the Role of Orthotics

Orthotics, custom-made or prefabricated shoe inserts, play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of indoor sports on the lower extremities. These devices are designed to provide support, stability, and proper alignment to the feet, thereby reducing the risk of injuries. In a healthcare clinic setting, orthotics are often recommended after a thorough Pedorthic assessment to identify any irregularities in an individual’s foot structure or gait.

By addressing issues such as overpronation or supination, orthotics help with alignment issues, distribute the body’s weight more evenly, and alleviating stress on specific areas. They are particularly beneficial for athletes with flat feet or high arches, as these conditions can contribute to imbalances and instability during sports activities.

The Impact of Proper Footwear

Equally important in injury prevention is the selection of appropriate footwear. Our approach to footwear emphasizes the significance of wearing sports shoes that provide adequate support, cushioning, and traction. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can increase the risk of slips, falls, and various foot-related injuries.

Athletic shoes tailored for specific sports activities offer targeted features to enhance performance and protect against injuries. For instance, basketball shoes are designed with ankle support to prevent sprains, while running shoes prioritize shock absorption to reduce the impact on joints. Our professional shoe fitters at soles in motions can guide patients in choosing footwear tailored to their specific sport and individual foot characteristics. We even carry pickleball specific footwear!


In the realm of indoor sports, healthcare clinics play a vital role in promoting athlete well-being and preventing injuries. The use of orthotics and proper footwear are a big part of a long lasting indoor recreation career. At Soles in Motion we have a team of pedorthist’s and orthopedic bracing specialists that can answer many of your questions and concerns and to help you continue your favorite indoor sport.

Knee Pain – Is it changing your lifestyle?

Knee Pain  Is it changing your lifestyle?

We have been in the business of helping people reduce their pain and become more active through orthopedic appliances, compression therapy, supports and orthotics for over 20 years. Our team is dedicated to coming up with the right solution for you. So let’s talk ‘knees’!

Do you have knee pain, aching, stiffness and soreness after long periods of inactivity; mild to severe pain after overuse or ascending or descending stairs? These are common symptoms of Osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis affecting one in ten Canadian adults. It can affect any joint but commonly occurs in weight bearing joints such as the knee. The cartilage (firm, rubbery material) that covers the ends of the bones in normal joints acts as a shock absorber. Over time, the cartilage and meniscus may wear away in some areas decreasing its ability to cushion the bone. As this happens tendons and ligaments stretch, causing pain. As the condition worsens the bones may rub against each other. Osteoarthritis can be caused by many factors including heredity, obesity, injury or joint overuse.

Unloading Knee Braces – Non-Invasive Options

A safe, non-invasive viable option is an Osteoarthritis Unloader knee brace specifically designed to treat OA. It stabilizes the joint, reduces pain and helps to build stronger muscles allowing patients to return to the activities they love whether that is everyday living or sports. OA braces relieve pain by redistributing the weight bearing load on the painful or affected compartment of the joint to the healthier or unaffected compartment. Increased function studies have shown that wearing an OA brace can increase daily functions and decrease pain. Patients diagnosed with OA who wear a knee brace will generally feel better in the morning, be more active during the day, and rest more comfortably at night. Braces cannot cure osteoarthritis and may not be right for everyone however, it is a viable and successful solution for many people. The ideal candidates are typically people who are motivated to strengthen their muscles and willing to wear a brace to realize the benefits of this form of treatment. There are many different types of OA braces designed for all activity levels. One of the programs offered at Soles in Motion is the 30 Day Free Trial OA Program so you have the opportunity to feel its success without incurring any costs and you do not need a prescription.

No matter what your ability, we believe that with the proper treatment plan, you can reduce your pain and achieve your goals. Education is key in making an informed decision. Keep your joints moving and if you have given up activities due to increased pain try low-impact exercises, group activities such as chair yoga, walking and other exercises to help you reach your goals. Swimming or cycling will strengthen your joints and increase their range of motion. Stronger muscles can reduce the stress on your joints during everyday activities. Give us a call at 902-468-7911 or email me and book a free no obligation appointment.

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Brace Specialist, Soles in Motion

How a Pedorthist can help overcome running injuries

Running is a great form of exercise here in Nova Scotia. Besides the proven benefits to our mental and physical health, running is popular because you can run almost anywhere at any time. In addition, all you need is a pair of running shoes. What could go wrong?

Running footwear is a vital piece of equipment and will play a big role in injury prevention and the longevity of your running career. Whether you are a casual runner or a seasoned marathoner, it is important to wear footwear that compliments your mechanics, foot type, and even the terrain you are running on.

A Pedorthist can help you find the perfect footwear; this is achieved by performing an assessment of your biomechanics, posture, and foot anatomy. Below are a few tips for picking footwear based on your foot type.

Arch Type and Footwear

Identifying your arch type is an important part of a Pedorthic assessment; There are three main arch types: high (pes cavus), low (pes planus), and a normal arch.

High Arches: In general, high arched feet have stiff joints that lack the proper range of motion required for optimal running gait. As a result, this foot type does not absorb shock well and can lead to impact-related injuries. Examples of impact-related injuries can be the pain of the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia) or shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome).

Footwear with a high-quality cushion is recommended for running, particularly if running on hard surfaces such as pavement. In addition to footwear, a Pedorthist may recommend over-the-counter insoles or custom foot orthotics – this is an effective method to redistribute pressures on the foot.

Low Arches: In general, low arched feet have hyper-mobile joints, in other words, there is too much laxity and movement of the joints of the foot. This foot type tends to be associated with over-pronation; this is the inward rolling in of the ankle coupled with the collapse of the arch. Common conditions related to over-pronation include heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and knee pain (patellofemoral syndrome or runner’s knee).

For this foot type, a Pedorthist may recommend stable footwear, which is designed to reduce the amount of pronation during midstance. Over-the-counter insoles or custom foot orthotics are commonly recommended to control these mechanics.

Normal Arch: In terms of arch types, this is where most of the population falls. Now just because you fall within normal limits does not mean you can skimp out on footwear. It is still highly recommended that one be fit properly for both length and width. Most commonly, a stable neutral fitting shoe is recommended. Neutral shoes come in a variety of cushion levels and oftentimes depend on the preference of the runner.

In Conclusion

It is important to note that these tips are general and not intended for medical advice. As always, it is advised to see your family doctor or local pedorthist if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort while running. In-person shoe fitting will always give you the best results – so don’t hesitate to drop by Soles In Motion in Dartmouth, NS to get professionally fitted to keep you running injury free!

Choose Summer Footwear carefully


You can’t change your genes but you can change your shoes. So what’s the perfect pair if you want to keep your feet happy and healthy all summer long?

Healthy feet are vital for feeling good and being able to stay active, whether your day consists of your work routine or other activities. Neglecting your feet can lead to unnecessary pain and other foot problems later.

How many of you take time to choose the right footwear to walk, run, work in but come summer put on a flip flop that is flat, thin and consists of very little material?  We know you can’t wait to get those feet out of your good healthy shoes and feel the summer heat!

The right type of footwear, with the right foot and the right shape, is essential to keeping your feet healthy and happy.

Things to look for in healthy, stylish summer sandals and shoes are cushioning, arch support or removable insoles for those with orthotics, well-constructed and adjustable straps.

Summer styles even flip flops need to be good for your feet.

Soles in Motion specializes in choosing summer sandals and footwear that keep your feet healthy, happy and styling!  We have many styles to choose from. Your feet are worth it.  Make lying around in the sun this summer your choice not because your feet are hurting too bad to move around!

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Owner, Bracing Specialist


2022 – Every day is what we make it!

No matter what is going on around us the seasons are still coming.  In this time of social distancing and limited contact, it is important to get moving and if possible get outside Walking clears your head and helps your creative side and most importantly improves your mental health.  However, be prepared – winter is here and with it comes slips and falls.  Falls with or without injury carry a heavy impact on your quality of life.  The most profound effect of falling is the loss of confidence and/or independent living.  Therefore, people may stop doing things that have kept them active.  However, staying active needs to overcome your fear of falling.

Move and strengthen – Many falls are caused by muscle weakness. Exercise is very important.  If you don’t want to participate in a group setting then do it at home.  I met a man that had lost a lot of muscle in his upper legs quickly.  After talking to him, we discovered that after moving from his home to an apartment he no longer did stairs multiple times a day or general outdoor activity.  Although a small thing to some, he was doing very little in his new home to keep those muscles strong.

Stabilize your feet – Whether inside or out – if you are unstable consider your shoes; high heels, floppy slippers, slick soles can make you feel unstable and make you stumble and fall.  Sensible shoes and/or orthotics will not only make you more stable but may also reduce joint pain.  Make sure you have boots with good traction if you are going outside; otherwise, it is like driving with bald tires!

Stabilize your Knees – Unfortunately, as time goes by your knee joints are the first joints to wear and you may have osteoarthritis or kneecap pain. This causes instability and weakness leading to falling.  Consider a knee brace that will help with the redistribution of forces away from the area of degeneration.

At Soles in Motion, we want to make you happy and pain-free from the feet up.  Did you know we have two Canadian Certified Pedorthists, Graham and J, as well as, Jen and Chris, Bracing Specialists, who would love to see you?  There is no charge for our appointments and we will educate you on how we can help.  We will also introduce you to Albert, our 3D scanner, who will tell you all about your feet and measure your feet to make sure you get the proper shoes.  Drop in or give us a call at 902-468-7911

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Owner, Bracing Specialist

How to stay in the game with no knee pain!

Soles in Motion is all about keeping you in the game, active and pain-free. We offer solutions by giving you the information to make the right decision.

If your knee pain is distracting you during or after the game, you need to know why. It could be Patella Femoral Syndrome, sometimes referred to as Runners Knee. PFPS is one of the most common of all knee injuries in active people. The knee is a complex joint that not only bends and straightens but also twists and rotates. The knee is not a simple ball-and-socket joint, like the hip. It depends heavily on the soft tissues that surround it, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments because it is a weight-bearing joint that is subjected to many different types of motion.

People with patella femoral knee syndrome (PFPS) usually have pain in the front of the knee, around or beneath the kneecap. Patients may have difficulty going up or downstairs. Also, after remaining seated for a prolonged time, they may experience extreme discomfort with their first few steps after rising. You may also complain of joint locking or the feeling of joint instability. Quadriceps strengthening is recommended as these muscles play a significant role in the patellar movement. Hip, hamstring, calf and iliotibial band (IT band) stretching may also be important. Custom orthotics can be helpful in patients with a wide variety of lower extremity complaints, including patellofemoral pain. Bracing can also be an effective conservative treatment for decreasing the symptoms. Braces for patella femoral syndrome help to reduce pain resulting from maltracking or patella instability. However, there are many, many types of braces for PFPS, what your friend wears and works for them may not work for you. Seeing one of our professionals that researches your activity level, pain history and recommends braces for you to try on is the best solution.

Another common condition that affects many people is osteoarthritis of the knee. Knee osteoarthritis (OA), is typically the result of wear and tear and progressive loss of articular cartilage. You will probably feel your knee is painful and stiff at times. It may only affect one side of the knee. The pain may feel worse at the end of the day, or when you move your knee, and it may improve when you rest.

Also, as part of our commitment to the treatment of OA, Soles in Motion is offering a no-risk 30 day trial on our Osteoarthritis Unloader Knee Braces. By unloading the affected compartment of the knee, the unloader brace offers people with knee OA a safe, proven, low-risk treatment that will reduce your pain and improve your mobility. We have seen results and are confident you will be able to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

Soles in Motion encourages you to come in and talk to us, let us assess your gait and the footwear you are wearing, these too may be contributing to your pain. We are here to help and keep you moving no matter what your abilities!

Soles in Motion, 133 Baker Dr. Dartmouth 902-468-7911
Give us a call and book a free, no-obligation appointment with one of our professionals to see how we can help you!

– Submitted by Jen Estabrooks

The Customer Experience! You deserve it!

When you walk into a store, somewhere in your mind you are looking for something.  It may not be in the front of your mind but it is there or why would you be there.  The deciding factor will be the experience.   The ultimate customer experience is when you feel welcome, not pressured, but not ignored.

At Soles in Motion, customers come to us for attention, knowledge and specialized service.  We are good listeners and want to take time to identify your needs by asking questions and getting to know you.   Customers don’t just buy products or services; they buy good feelings and want to be part of our community.

Our Soles in Motion Staff love what they do and look for ways to make doing business with us easy.  If you are looking for footwear, we measure your feet, both on our educating scan system and with the Brannock device.  We will also watch your gait (the way you walk) so we can bring out the best footwear suited to your feet. And we love good-looking shoes so we strive to dress up your feet to be noticed, whether it is for running, walking, or shopping!  You deserve the best service no matter where you go but at Soles in Motion, we guarantee it!


Visit and spend time with us and enjoy – selecting shoes is an experience that will put you in a better mood this spring.  Seeing all the bright colors and new styles will brighten your day.  Did you know we carry over 200 styles and colors this spring!  It is our largest selection ever!

Nothing will make you feel better than coming into Soles in Motion and seeing our spring collection and talking to our amazing team!  Colors and styles to make your feet happy and make you want to shake off the winter blahs and get moving!   See you soon!