You have been recommended by your friend, family member, colleague, doctor, or other health care provider to use custom foot orthotics for your ongoing foot pain. What are the next steps? Who do you book an appointment with? What will the appointment entail and what do you have to prepare?
Continue reading this article to find out all you need to know about custom foot orthotics and how to be properly assessed for them.
What is a custom foot orthotic?
A custom foot orthotic is a device derived from a three-dimensional representation of a person’s foot and also made of suitable materials with regard to the individual’s condition. It is made specifically to address structural or functional foot conditions that lead to faulty foot mechanics and abnormal gait patterns by providing support, stability, and balance. It is a removable device that can be transferred between shoes.
Who do I see for a custom foot orthotic?
Once you have a prescription, you must book an appointment with a chiropodist or podiatrist to be assessed for your foot concern. At this appointment, the provider will determine if a custom foot orthotic device would be beneficial to your situation.
What should I expect at an appointment with a Licensed Chiropodist?
The appointment will start with a review of your past medical history and the history of your present illness/condition.
The chiropodist will ask a number of different questions including any medications you are currently taking, allergies, symptoms revolving your current issue, occupation, activities, and footwear choices. It is a good idea to bring a list of medications if you cannot remember all of them and a couple of shoes you frequently wear.
You will then be examined. The chiropodist will perform a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to assess the range of motion in the joints of the foot and lower limb as well as the presence of structural and/or functional abnormalities and their compensations. You should expect your chiropodist to be hands on and very observational during this portion of the visit.
After the assessment, the chiropodist will explain his or her findings and the treatment options available to you, including whether or not custom foot orthotics will address your specific needs.
If a custom foot orthotic is recommended and you, as the patient, agrees with this treatment plan, you will then be casted.
Casting involves creating a three-dimensional mould of your foot using plaster of paris, an STS slipper sock, or a laser scanner while in non-weight bearing position.
Once casted, this marks the end of your appointment. The moulds of your feet will be used to make the custom foot orthotics from scratch.
Manufacturing time usually takes at least a week, at which point you will be contacted to attend a fitting appointment to pick up the orthotics.
At your fitting appointment, your provider will ensure the orthotics fit properly into your shoes and do not impose any immediate discomfort. You will also be given instructions on how to break in the devices and educated on signs that may suggest the orthotics are not working properly. Your provider should be able to adjust or modify the orthotics should any problems arise.