What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are customized inserts that fit inside your shoes and provide support for your feet. Remember, the average person walks five miles per day: unsupportive footwear can quickly take a toll on your body.
Orthotics work by supporting the arch of the foot, preventing the ankle from rolling, and relieving your knees, hips, and lower back of extra pressure. Without orthotics to support your arch, your muscles and ligaments are forced to work overtime to lift the arch.
Are Orthotics For Me?
Orthotics offer relief for a variety of foot problems and biomechanical conditions, especially for those who must walk or stand excessively while at work, or in everyday activities or sport.
There are several types and sizes of orthotics that can suit any individual’s unique needs. Common types include:
Rigid: For persons who require longitudinal arch support and a greater degree of biomechanical control.
Dress: A thin and narrow semi-rigid orthotic which may be worn in men’s and women’s low volume dress shoes with a maximum of a 1” heel.
Sport: Sport orthotics are composed of either a semi-rigid shell or rigid shell that provides a moderate to high level of biomechanical control for athletes or other people who are very active on their feet. This orthotic will establish better foot and leg function and help prevent injuries by protecting against pressure and impact shock.
Casual: Casual orthotics are used for general walking and prolonged standing. They can be worn in a wide variety of everyday footwear, while supporting the arch and stabilizing the heels.
Diabetic: Diabetic orthotics are designed to off-load pressure points on the bottom of feet for people with high risk of foot ulceration. Diabetic orthotics decrease plantar pressure, reduce shearing forces and shock, redistribute force, and limit abnormal pronation. Note: It is important to have diabetic orthotics checked regularly for signs of deterioration. Once an orthotic has worn out, it will no longer provide the necessary pressure reduction.
Pediatric: Pediatric orthotics work to accommodate children under the age of 17 with foot problems and/or ankle problems such as severe pronation and flat feet. Pediatric orthotics will help to prevent further damage and slow down the progression of biomechanical abnormality.
What Are The Benefits of Orthotics?
Wearing orthotics can improve foot mechanics and efficiency during the time the foot is working, whether sitting, walking or running. This helps reduce abnormal tissue stress responsible for many conditions.
Regular use of an orthotic can:
- Alleviate knee and back pain
- Maintain the normal positioning of the bones and joints in your feet, ankles, knees and hips
- Realign the spinal column
- Alleviate fascia pain
- Aid to slow progression of minor foot deformities such as hammertoes and bunions
- Provide you with additional shock absorption while walking, jogging, etc.
How Are They Made?
Custom foot orthotics are made to order and are specific to an individual’s biomechanical needs. Following an assessment, our chiropodists take a mold of both feet. This mold is then sent to the orthotics lab where a replica of the feet is made by filling the mold with plaster.
Thermoplastic or carbon is used to form the shell of the orthotic. Modifications are then made to the mold based on specifications from the prescription in order to facilitate proper alignment of the foot and ankle joints. Modifications include devices such as metatarsal pads and/or heel lifts.
Finally, a top covering is added to the orthotic.
How Do I Use Orthotics?
An orthotic is designed to change the way you walk. When you first get them, wear your orthotics for about two hours. Increase the length of time you wear your orthotics in increments of about an hour per day, until you are wearing them for the duration of an entire day.
Avoid wearing your orthotics while playing sports or during workouts until you have been wearing them a minimum of 8 hours/day for a week. Slowly incorporate them into these activities once you have become accustomed to your orthotics.
What Shoes Can Be Worn With Orthotics?
Orthotics can be worn with casual, dress, and athletic shoes.
Are Orthotics Covered By Insurance?
Orthotics are covered by most private insurance plans.