Custom orthotics are medical devices that control the way you move in order to improve alignment in your foot and leg for better wellbeing. Orthotics are made to improve function, stability and alleviate pain in the foot and leg. Custom orthotics are different from the over the counter insoles or arch supports that you can buy at any store because they are specially made to conform to the unique shape of your foot. Over the counter insoles available at the local pharmacy and sports equipment shops are not genuine orthotics. Custom orthotics are made by prescription only and are designed for your foot condition. The orthotic prescription outlines the parameters and composition of the orthotics needed to treat your particular biomechanical problem or medical condition. With a pair of orthotics, pressure points, painful muscle strain and improper movement of your foot are reduced, as your foot is functioning properly.
Benefits of wearing custom-made orthotics
- Alleviate pain in the foot, ankle, leg and lower back
- Maintain proper alignment of foot and leg and improve balance
- Customized arch and heel support
- Prevent progression of bunions and clawed digits
- Provide shock absorption and redistribution of pressure across the bottom of the foot
- Offloading pressure from areas of the foot at risk of developing calluses, corns and ulcerations
- Maintain general wellbeing by allowing you to be active longer when walking and engaging in sporting activities
Foot problems that may require custom orthotics
- Flatfeet (Pes planus)
- High Arched feet (Pes cavus)
- Heel Spur
- Heel Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Metatarsal Pain
- Hallux Pain
- Hallux Abducto Valgus
- Shin splints
- Lower back and leg pain
Types of Orthotics
Prescription custom-made foot orthotics fall into two categories: functional and accommodative custom orthotics.
Functional custom orthotics are made specifically to treat the particular foot condition by improving alignment and function of the foot. Athletes and people who engage in prolonged physical activities can benefit with the use of functional orthotics to provide stability and support. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel spur, flat feet, hallux abducto valgus or overpronation can be addressed with the use of functional custom orthotics in conjunction with proper footwear. Functional custom orthotics are the most commonly prescribed type of orthotics for treatment of foot conditions.
Accommodative orthotics are created specifically to protect and evenly distribute pressure to the bottom of the feet. Seniors with sensitive feet and people who are at risk for developing painful corns, calluses and ulcerations can benefit with the use of accommodative orthotics to provide comfort and pressure offloading. Conditions such as Diabetes, arthritis, fat pad atrophy, stroke causing changes in foot structure and foot pain can be addressed with the use of accommodative custom orthotics in conjunction with proper footwear. Usually, accommodative custom orthotics are prescribed when functional orthotics are not appropriate.
Sometimes, combinations of the functional and accommodative components are needed to make the custom orthotics suited to the unique needs of your feet. Therefore custom-made orthotics are designed based on your foot condition, activity, lifestyle and type of footwear used.
Children and Orthotics
A young child usually has a chubby foot with a flat arch, as the boney structure of the foot has not fully formed. As part of the normal developmental process, the structure of the foot can change as the child grows. Some children may develop normal arches, but some children may develop pain due to the flatfeet. Flatfeet is used to describe a foot with an abnormally low arch. When standing and walking, rolling inward of the foot specifically the heel can be seen along with the lowering of the arch. As having flatfeet can cause instability of the foot during physical activity, children with flatfeet may report arch, heel or ankle pain in particular during increased walking, or running. Excessive rolling inwards of the foot can lead to secondary problems including joint damage and structural changes. Children with symptomatic flatfeet will need treatment. Biomechanical assessment to examine the structure of the child’s leg and feet and analysis of the child’s walking pattern is needed to determine if treatment is required. Generally, treatment involves supportive footwear, use of custom functional orthotics and stretching exercises. Orthotics can limit the abnormal rolling inward of the heel and provide support to the flat arch shape. Also, orthotics can help to reduce pain, provide stability, improve gait and for the prevention of secondary problems. Children with symptomatic severe flatfeet may need surgical consultation.
The Process for Custom Orthotics
- An biomechanical examination of the structure and motion of your legs and feet and gait analysis to evaluate your walking will be conducted by our Chiropodist to determine if orthotics are needed
- A non-weightbearing molded cast or 3D scan of your feet will be taken in subtalar joint neural position in order to fabricate the custom orthotics
- Custom orthotics will be made according to the orthotic prescription indicating the parameters and composition of the orthotics
- When you receive your orthotics, you will be fitted with your orthotics in your footwear and given advice on how to gradually break-in to the orthotics
- After using the orthotics for some time, a follow-up visit or phone call will be made to ensure that the orthotics are appropriate
Orthotics In Ontario
In Ontario, foot orthotics are under public domain acts and can be performed by any regulated or unregulated practitioner. In today’s marketplace, as members of different professions prescribe and dispense orthotics, orthotics can be made incorrectly depending on the competency and qualifications by the prescriber. Therefore, the general public must be cautious of whom they receive their orthotics from. Chiropodists and Podiatrists are the only regulated foot health professionals in Ontario with authorized scope of practice to provide orthotics. Chiropodists and Podiatrists can prescribe custom-made orthotics as mandated by most insurance plans. Chiropodists and Podiatrists are both regulated by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario.