We can help correct many foot and ankle ailments with custom orthotics.
Orthotics (orthoses) are devices designed to correct irregularities or problems with feet and/or ankles. Most people start with over-the-counter orthotic devices that can be used by anybody in need of added support. If such devices aren’t effective, custom orthotics may achieve the desired results.
- A custom orthotic is a supportive foot device specifically designed with the unique characteristics and dimensions of the user’s foot in mind.
- While most people associate arch supports or shoe inserts with orthotics, there are many different supportive items that can be customized to meet individual needs.
How Are Custom Orthotics Made?
Custom orthotics are akin to prescription eyeglasses for your feet. These devices are designed to place the user’s foot and ankle in the most anatomically desirable, comfortable, and efficient position possible. In our office, custom orthotics are made from 3D scans of your feet. Prescription orthotics are only created after a thorough evaluation by a podiatrist. A typical evaluation includes a detailed look at all aspects of a patient’s foot anatomy, including the bones of the foot and ankle along with supporting soft tissues. These specially designed devices fall into two basic categories:
- Accommodative orthotics: Devices of this nature are softer. They are meant to primarily provide extra support and cushioning for the wearer. Accommodative orthotics may be recommended for patients with diabetic foot ulcers, painful corns or calluses, or similar issues.
- Functional orthotics: Abnormal motions of feet and ankles are corrected with functional custom orthotics. Made of semi-rigid materials, devices designed for this purpose are often recommended to treat injuries such as tendinitis, shin splints, or structural abnormalities of the foot or ankle.
What Are the Benefits of Patient-Specific Orthotics?
Often recommended when other attempts at managing foot pain aren’t successful, personalized orthotics can benefit patients with a variety of foot conditions, such as tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, foot, ankle, and heel pain, and diabetic foot ulcers. While customized orthotics often cost more than over-the-counter (OTC) versions of the same devices, many patients believe the added benefits are well worth it. A unique design can also be created for each foot with prescription orthotics. Podiatrist prescribed orthotics are also made of high-quality materials, which means they are likely to last longer and stand up to normal wear and tear better than OTC orthotics. Most health insurance plans include some type of coverage for custom orthotics.
How Often Are Prescription Orthotics Worn?
Prescription orthotics are sometimes worn only until the patient’s foot condition heals. In other instances, orthotics may need to be worn whenever the wearer is walking to maintain stability and comfort. Patients will be given instructions on how to properly use and care for their orthotic devices. Most patients will have a period of adjustment when first using custom orthotics. Adjustments are sometimes necessary to achieve a more precise fit.
Different Types of Custom Orthotics
There are many several different types of custom orthotics. Some are designed to address biomechanical foot problems or foot disorders while others are designed to improve comfort by eliminating or minimizing pressure on certain parts of the foot.
Custom cut foot pads are the simplest type of patient-specific orthotics. They can be placed on the inside of a shoe or place on the bottom of feet. Foot pads are usually used to treat issues with the front of the foot like corns.
Custom shoe inserts are made custom-molded for each foot. They are placed inside of the wearer’s shoe. Personalized designs can consist of multiple layers of cushioning to provide the appropriate level of support. When used properly, customized shoe inserts may restore balance and alignment while standing, walking, running, or jogging. Shoe inserts may include:
- Heel liners
- Foot cushions
- Arch supports
Customized ankle braces are prescribed for wearers with a condition or injury that requires some degree of immobilization of the heel and ankle. Braces may be also recommended for patients with conditions such as foot drop, ankle arthritis, or tendinitis that can be affected by the normal movements of feet and ankles.
Many people appreciate the extra support they get from custom orthotics. It’s an option that’s particularly beneficial for individuals with unique foot formations or abnormalities that can’t be sufficiently corrected with standard orthotics. It’s important to realize that orthotics won’t correct any structural issues with the foot itself. What they can do is make any discomfort associated with daily foot movements less distracting, allow an injured foot to heal, or restore stability. Some patients may also be able to delay or avoid surgery altogether if relief is experienced with custom orthotics..