Orthotics are orthopedic devices that are used to alter or modify foot function. They are designed to treat, adjust, and support various biomechanical foot disorders.
The most effective orthotics are custom-made devices that are crafted to meet the specific needs of each patient. True custom orthotics are created using an impression of each foot called a cast, which places the foot in the neutral position. A pair of true custom orthotics can only be prescribed following a comprehensive assessment by a highly trained foot specialist who is able to properly diagnose your foot condition.
Should a custom molded orthotic be recommended, the cast is made by our podiatrist and sent to a reputable orthotic lab in Canada. At the lab, the technician, using the patient’s cast, uses a computer aided design to balance out deformities and corrects misalignments.
Many orthotic suppliers and shoe stores do not provide custom-made orthotics but rather custom fit shoe insoles. This off-the-shelf inserts are slightly modified and fitted to your shoe size. They are not a medical product and tend to provide little more than extra cushioning in the shoes similar to an over the counter foot/arch supports sold at drug stores in the health and beauty department. Such arch supports may help a few patients find temporary comfort but since they do not correct the underlying problem of controlling improper foot movement, and alignment, make sure that you are an informed consumer.
Walking or standing on a digital platform which produces colourful screen images may provide useful information on pressure areas on the soles of the foot, however it does not capture a true three dimensional image impression of the foot. Orthotics produced from these procedures, as well as from foam impressions do not produce true custom medical devices. It is important that our patients be well informed and educated about substandard methods of producing orthotics. These suppliers sell something that they call “custom” foot orthoses, but if the impressions are not from a custom cast mold of your foot, using the Root method, they are not truly custom orthotics.
Contrarily, when prescribed, true custom orthotics, control the position of your foot and ensure the proper alignment and functionality of the joints. True custom orthotics realign the structures of the foot into their correct anatomical position. If used properly as a medical device, they can eliminate the onset of pain as well as the development of continued foot deformity.
When prescribed, true custom orthotics can be effective in the treatment of symptoms and diseases such as:
- Arch pain
- Sports injuries
- Chronic ankle sprain
- Foot pain
- Gait abnormalities
- Plantar Fasciitis