Newsletter - Why Orthotics?

Orthotics are orthopedic devices that are used to alter or modify foot function and are designed to treat, adjust, and support various biomechanical foot disorders. Some orthotics are simple, commercially-made devices, such as cushioned heel cups or insoles for shoes that are sold over the counter in drug stores or other retail establishments.

The most effective orthotics, however, are custom-made devices that are crafted to meet the specific needs of a particular individual. Custom orthotics are created using an impression of the foot called a cast, which duplicates any misalignments in foot structure. Using the cast and computer technology, technicians in an orthotic design center design a device that balances out deformities and corrects misalignments.

Orthotics By Type

In general, foot care specialists group orthotics into the following categories:

Functional Orthotics are designed to support abnormal foot biomechanics. These devices, which often are made of supportive plastic polymer materials, prevent abnormal foot pronation (flattening of the arch) and reduce the impact load from the ground (shock absorption) while walking or running. Functional orthotics allow the foot to become a mobile adapter and a rigid lever. They support the rear foot or subtalar joints, as well as the midfoot or midtarsal joints. This support stabilizes the foot and can help prevent repetitive overuse injuries. Functional orthotics are used to correct many foot deformities.

Accommodative Orthotics typically feature a soft supportive device that is designed to relieve mild foot pain and correct minor foot problems. These devices often are used to correct biomechanical walking problems in young children. Accommodative orthotics include splints, gait plates, and night bars (devices used to hold a child's feet and legs at a proper angle while sleeping) that promote corrective adjustment for excessive toe-in or toe-out walking. Braces may be used in infants to correct foot, leg, or hip abnormalities (e.g., metatarsus adductus, internal or external hip rotation problems).

Who Should Use an Orthotic?

Almost anyone, from children to adults, can benefit from orthotics. Orthotics can alleviate many common foot / knee problems that cause pain and discomfort in otherwise healthy people. An analogy can be made between orthotics and eyeglasses, both devices adjust problems that can impair physical function. In both cases, a physician (e.g., eye doctor or foot care specialist) performs a complete examination and then prescribes the proper amount of correction.

Orthotic Shoes / Orthotic Insoles

  • Orthotic shoes, or, better still, custom-made orthotic insoles / orthotic support, provide pain relief for pain in foot, toe pain, arch pain, heel pain, corn and calluses and other problems related to foot pain.
  • Research shows that 60 to 70 percent of people have abnormally functioning feet.
  • Functional problems in your feet can alter your walking pattern and cause pain throughout your body.
  • If you suffer from pain in the foot, it is important that you wear proper orthotic shoes or shoes with custom orthotics / orthotic insoles.
  • Do not just live with the foot pain!
  • Firstly, you don't have to. More importantly, pain in foot affects your gait - that is, your way of walking.
  • And if your gait is imbalanced, it can lead to aches and pain in other parts of the body, including lower back pain, back ache, neck pain, and so on.
  • But while there are a few brands of commercially available orthotic shoes, these are not custom-made to suit your feet and your gait. Remember, every one is different when it comes to orthotics and there is no such thing as "one-size fits all"!
  • Moreover, the choice of fashion is very limited when you buy orthotic shoes.

Custom Orthotics

Custom foot orthotics are fabricated inserts worn inside shoes, to support and improve alignment and function of the feet. This providies cushioning and redistribution of force during ground contact, which most importantly helps to ease your pain and relieve stress from the tissues that hold you together.

To determine if custom orthotics are warranted, we will construct a comprehensive management plan after obtaining a thorough history and physical examination. This will include a structural and functional analysis of your gait, along with orthopedic testing to determine the support your feet are providing, and if orthotics can help. Customized professional orthotics can then be carefully constructed for your needs.

One important note, we can determine if you need orthotic inserts and make them the same day. You do not have to wait for your inserts, you can start feeling and walking better today.