Orthotics are custom made devices manufactured from many types
of materials. They fit inside your own shoes, and are worn on
a full time basis. Orthotics gently and constantly help to control
the way your foot functions. There are many types of orthotic
devices. Advances in technology enable your podiatrist to prescribe
a device specific to the activities that you participate in
the most. From walking to running, or aerobics to basketball,
orthotics can help you perform at peak efficiency. Professional
orthotics are made from impressions of your feet. The devices
are custom made for your feet only. Just as contact lenses or
glasses improve vision, orthotics will help your podiatrist
improve your foot function.
Biomechanics involves the study of the body in motion. Biomechanical
orthotics are prescription inserts made from neutral foot
position casts. The prescribing practitioner sends the casts
and clinical information to a professional orthotics laboratory,
where an evaluation specialist reviews the casts and prescription.
A staff doctor oversees the evaluation in the form of a "second
opinion." Then a production clinician takes responsibility
for fabrication and quality control of the individual prescription.
The fabricated orthotics are sent to the doctor to dispense
with instructions to the patient. Orthotic treatment may be
combined with other forms of treatment, such as injections,
medications, physical therapy or surgery.
Is There More Than One Type Of Orthotic?
Because we are born with different foot types, and because
we engage in different occupations and activities, there are
specific types of orthotics for individual patients. Orthotics
may be used with children, adults, athletes, elderly patients
and, very often, with patients following surgery or injury.
Orthotics may be rigid, semi-rigid or soft (flexible).
How Long Will I Need To Wear Orthotics and How Long
Do They Last?
Orthotics may require a gradual break-in period. They are
worn in 95% of all walking or standing activities. You may
need to wear orthotics indefinitely, depending on how your
foot function responds. Orthotics have a variable life span,
depending upon your activities. You may need periodic changes
in your prescription as your foot function changes.
Will I Need More Than One Pair of Orthotics?
There are patients who may need one pair for work and one
pair for recreation. Women who wear different heel heights
may require an additional pair. Your podiatrist may recommend
more than one pair, depending on your individual need
What are braces for?
Some patients have conditions that require more than just
an orthotic device. The braces used in our practice support
both the foot and ankle. If your doctor diagnoses you with
a problem that effects structures of both the foot and ankle,
the recommendation of an ankle-foot orthosis (brace) may be
made to you.
are many braces that we recommend, however there are two basic
types. The first is a brace that allows for normal ankle joint
flexion. This one is used for more active patients with less
second is a brace that totally limits motion of the ankle
joint. This one is used for longstanding, chronic conditions
such as painful arthritis or diabetic foot and ankle problems.