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Custom Orthotics

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Overview

What Are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are custom-built corrective shoe inserts that provide personalized support to the structures of our feet.  Orthotics act to correct or accommodate biomechanical abnormalities, foot deformities (i.e.: bunionshammertoesflatfoothigh arches) and a variety of joint and muscle conditions (i.e.: arthritis) to improve your gait and manage pain.  They do this by redistributing the force and pressure placed on our muscles and joints when we move.  This in turn alleviates strain and pain in our feet and the rest of our body.

If you have chronic foot, ankle, knee, or hip pain, your doctor or Chiropodist may prescribe custom orthotics.  On average, a pair of custom orthotics will last two to three years of daily wear.

The manufacture and design of custom orthotics take your activity, choice of footwear and foot type into consideration to create a specialized device that best suits your needs.

You can get custom orthotics at our foot clinic by booking an Orthotic Assessment appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists (see “The Process” section below).  Custom orthotics are covered by most private insurers if prescribed by a medical doctor, chiropodist or other licensed foot specialist.

The Process

How Do I Get Custom Orthotics?

To get custom orthotics, you first need to book an appointment for an Orthotic Assessment at our foot clinic with one of our chiropodists.  The process will then be as follows:

1. The Orthotic Assessment

Your chiropodist will start by taking your history. If you have any pain or foot concerns, this is the time to let your chiropodist know. You should also tell your chiropodist any activities or sports that you engage in regularly, and the kinds of footwear you own and wear.  This information will help the chiropodist determine your needs and how you will be using your orthotics.

Following the history, the chiropodist will conduct a biomechanical assessment.  The biomechanical assessment involves three components:

  1. Range of motion assessment;
  2. Weight bearing assessment; and
  3. gait analysis

Orthotics assessments are usually about 35 to 45 minutes (depending on if you are casted in the same appointment).

A chiropodist conducting a video gait analysis during a biomechanical assesment.
Our chiropodists can do a video gait analysis to assess your gait and pinpoint the source of your foot pain.

2. Casting

Casting allows us to capture the foot in a position called Subtalar joint neutral.  At Feet First Clinic, our chiropodists use plaster, 3D scanning or foam to cast your feet.

Plaster casting is done by wrapping plaster of Paris bandages around your foot while you are in a prone position (lying face down with your feet up).  The plaster is removed once it is dry enough and we’ll then clean your feet.  Once the plaster molds are dried completely, they will be shipped to our partnering orthotics fabrication lab.

A chiropodist taking a plaster cast of a patient's foot for custom orthotics.
Plaster is one of the casting methods used by our chiropodist to make custom orthotics.

3D-Scan casting is done the same way, except instead of plaster, the chiropodist moves a special 3D-scanning tablet device around each foot while. The scan is then digitally submitted to our orthotics fabrication lab.

Foam casting is done a little differently; instead of lying face-down on your stomach, foam casting is done while sitting upright. Your feet are slowly placed in a special foam box, which captures a foam mould of your feet. The foam box is then sent to the lab. Foam casting is ideal for patients who are pregnant or have difficulty lying on their stomach.

Time permitting, you will be casted in the same appointment as your assessment; otherwise, a separate appointment will be booked for your casting.

The cost of casting is included in the charge for the orthotics.  This fee is separate from the cost of the orthotics assessment and payable when we ship the mold to the fabrication lab.  You can either pay the orthotics fee in full, or leave a deposit.  Most private insurers cover this fee. (See insurance section below).

We can also cast your foot by taking a foam mould of your foot in a foam box.

3. Fitting

Next, we will schedule an appointment with your chiropodist for an orthotics fitting.  At this appointment, you will get to try out your new completed orthotics for fit and comfort.  You will also be given instructions on how to break in your new orthotics and educated on signs that the orthotics may not working properly. There is no fee for this appointment: it is included in the cost of your orthotics.  This appointment is usually 10 to 15 minutes and takes place three weeks after your casting.

4. Repairs

If you are having difficulties with your orthotics or are not satisfied, you can book an appointment to see the chiropodist about getting them repaired or adjusted.  This can be done free of charge within 3 months of receiving your new orthotics.  Orthotics that don’t fit properly won’t work effectively, so we recommend contacting us immediately should you have any difficulties.  This allows us to ensure your foot condition is properly treated as quickly as possible, so you don’t endure pain any longer than you have to.

On average, a pair of custom orthotics will last one to three years of daily wear. There may be normal wear and tear to the top covers, which can easily be replaced or refurbished.

Click here for further information on the process for getting custom orthotics at our foot clinic.

Conditions Treated

Orthotics may be beneficial for treating the effects of a wide variety of foot conditions, including:

Read this article for further information about how orthotics treat these conditions.

Insurance Coverage

Custom orthotics are NOT covered by OHIP, but most extended health insurance plans cover the cost of orthotics in part or in whole. We strongly recommend verifying your coverage directly with your insurance company prior to your appointment.

If you wish to claim your custom orthotics through your private insurance, most insurance companies require a prescription from a medical doctor, chiropodists or podiatrist; most providers will accept a prescription from a licensed chiropodist. You do not need a quote for preapproval for custom orthotics prescribed by a chiropodist or podiatrist.

There are also additional documents required for coverage, which must be completed by a chiropodist or podiatrist. Our clinic is familiar with each insurance company’s documentation requirements and will provide all the documents you need to submit your claim and receive coverage.

Our clinic has multiple licensed chiropodists who can assess your feet if you require orthotics.  You can use our online booking form to schedule an assessment – no referral required!

Additional Information

For further information, please see our comprehensive guide to custom orthotics, their benefits and the different kinds you can get.

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