Custom Made Orthotics
Orthotics are shoe inserts that correct an abnormal, or irregular, walking pattern. Generally called arch supports, orthotics allow people to stand, walk, and run more efficiently and comfortably.
Podiatrists sometimes prescribe orthotic devices to correct an abnormal walk, or gait, and often for patients following surgery.
Orthotic devices come in many shapes and sizes, and materials and fall into three main categories: those designed to change foot function, are primarily protective in nature, and those that combine functional control and protection.
The so-called rigid orthotic device, designed to control function, is often composed a firm material such as plastic or carbon fiber, and is used primarily for walking or dress shoes. Such orthotics are made from a mold after a podiatrist takes a plaster cast or other kind of image of the foot.
Rigid orthotics control motion in two major foot joints that lie directly below the ankle joint and may improve or eliminate strains, aches, and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
Soft orthotics usually absorb shock, increase balance, and take pressure off uncomfortable or sore spots. They are typically made up of soft, cushy materials. Soft orthoses also are worn against the sole of the foot, extending from the heel past the ball of the foot, including the toes. Such orthotics are also made from a mold after a podiatrist takes a plaster cast or other kind of image of the foot.
Soft orthoses are usually effective for diabetic, arthritic, and deformed feet.
Semi-rigid orthotics provide foot balance for walking or participating in sports. Sometimes, different sports call for different kinds of semi-rigid orthotics. The typical semi-rigid orthotic is made up of layers of soft material, reinforced with more rigid materials.
Children are sometimes given orthoses to treat flatfoot or intoeing or outtoeing disorders. Athletes often are given orthoses to mitigate pain while they train and compete.
While over-the-counter orthotic inserts help people with mild symptoms, they normally cannot correct the wide range of symptoms that prescription foot orthoses can since they are made to fit a person with an "average" foot shape.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
What are Custom Orthotics?
A Precision custom orthotic is an insert in your shoe which rebalances your foot, legs and lower back in an effort to correct your foot, leg or back pain. It is made by a foot specialist who takes a custom mold of your foot in a corrected position. The mold is sent to a professional lab and scanned by a computer. The doctor writes a specific prescription based on your diagnosis, foot type, and clinical evaluation. All information is input into the computer and a device is manufactured with computer assistance.
Do Custom Orthotics always work?
Orthotics are an integral part of your treatment plan. They work well for most foot and ankle conditions 80% of the time. They often alleviate pain, help prevent the need for surgery and play a vital role in the prevention of recurrent pain. Orthotics are made out of many different materials and what works well for you may be different than what works well for your brother or sister.
Will I need to always use the Orthotics even after my pain is resolved?
Orthotics are often very helpful in preventing recurrence. Just like a pair of eyeglasses. Orthotics correct your foot or ankle deformity, but if you remove them you still have an unstable foot that is prone to injury.
What is the difference between a custom device and an orthotic I could buy in a store or pharmacy? Most store bought devices are designed for people with flat feet and do not support your foot in a corrected position. They are helpful to try as an initial simple method of treatment. These devices usually do not fit well in dress shoes or sandals and may be uncomfortable because they do not conform to the unique shape of your foot.
Can I wear my orthotics all day when I first receive them?
The custom orthotics are carefully designed to improve your body movement and function. It takes time for your body to adapt to these changes. Mild aches or discomfort may occur in your feet, ankles, legs, hips, or back. These symptoms will gradually disappear as your body adapts over a 2-6 week period.
Do I need more than one set of Orthotics?
Orthotics are either designed for lace up style dress or tennis shoes, dress shoes, or sandals. Many people order additional sets of orthotics that are specifically designed for other shoes. We typically recommend to make the initial pair for the shoes you wear the most. After you get used to them, you may want to consider ordering additional pairs for other types of shoes or sandals. The lab stores the original image and prescription on their computer, therefore we do not need to take an additional cast of your foot which reduces the overall cost for additional pairs.
How long will my Orthotics last?
Most devices will last 2-3 years depending upon the material. The main portion of the device is called the shell and its durability depends upon the material it is made of. A softer material may only last 6-12 months whereas a graphite material may last 5 years. We often place a soft topcover on many of our orthotics to provide more comfort in shoes. This soft cover is usually refurbished once a year. If a child is still growing the orthotics will need to be replaced once their foot grows
1.5-2 shoe sizes.
Does my insurance cover all Orthotics?
Most PPO insurance plans cover orthotics one pair per year. You may have a deductible which needs to be met first before the insurance pays 70%, 80% or 100%. Most HMO plans cover orthotics if you are diabetic but only some will cover them if you are not. Orthotics typically cost $400.00 if you need to self pay and $300.00 for additional pairs including the sandals.
How do I start using my new Orthotics?
Like a pair of shoes, there is a left and right orthotic. Place the orthotic in the correct shoe. Make sure it fits securely in the heel. You may need to remove the insoles from your lace up shoes before putting in the orthotic. Wear your orthotic 1-2 hours of walking or standing time the first few days. Add an hour each day until you can comfortably wear your orthotics all day. It typically takes 2-3 weeks to break them in.
If the device causes pinching, calluses, or blisters, stop wearing them and call us for a follow up appointment.
How do I care for my new Orthotics?
Never leave them in wet shoes. If they get wet, remove them from your shoes and air-dry. Do not expose them to heat (dryer, heater, fireplace, etc.) Always wear socks or stockings. If the orthotic squeaks while you walk, place talcum powder in your shoe under the device. Always bring your othotics when purchasing shoes.
Are all custom orthotics the same?
At the Precision Foot and Ankle Center we provide the most technologically advanced type of custom device. We specialize in the biomechanical evaluation, design and prescription writing of custom orthotics. Many foot and prosthetic specialists have limited training in these methods and will often make their orthotics by hand in an old-fashioned lab. Our orthotics are the most precise type of device available and will give you the best opportunity to alleviate your pain and prevent recurrence.