Table of Contents
What are Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are shoe inserts that help realign the foot to function in a more efficient position. They help control the foot mechanics so there is less arch pressure, unlike an off-the-shelf arch support. Orthotics allow people to stand, walk, and run more efficiently and comfortably.
At Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington, we prescribe orthotic devices to control abnormal walking patterns, to slow the progression of conditions such as bunions or flatfoot, and often for patients following surgery.
There are various orthotic styles and materials available. Our goal is to make devices out of the best possible materials so they will last as long as possible without losing their shape and correction.
Types of Orthotics
Orthotics can come in many different shapes and sizes and can be made from different types of materials. The purpose of a custom orthotic is for it to match your specific needs. Some orthotics may be rigid or functional, while others are soft and accommodative.
- Rigid or Functional Orthotics: The functional orthotic device is rigid and is designed to balance the foot and control function. These orthotics are made to ease foot aches and strains, and they’re made from harder materials like polypropylene plastic or carbon fiber. They are used primarily for walking, running, or work shoes. Such orthotics are made from a plaster cast of the foot.
- Soft or Accommodative Orthotics: Soft orthotics are devices used to reduce high pressure areas on the foot by absorbing shock and redistributing the pressure across the whole foot. These devices are commonly prescribed for rigid feet that cannot be realigned with a functional device or for diabetic feet that are prone to ulcers and sores. Since these devices are shock absorbing by design and are less durable, they will need to be replaced more frequently than functional orthotics. This type of orthotic is typically made from soft, compression materials.
Conditions that Benefit from Orthotics
Custom orthotics are designed to redistribute the body weight across the entire foot and control motion in the mid arch and joint below the ankle (subtalar joint). These devices are an important clinical tool to treat:
- Achilles Tendon Pain
- Flat Feet
- High Arched Foot (Cavus Foot)
- Hallux Rigidus/Limitus
- Medial Knee Pain (Runner’s knee)
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Shin Splints
How Are Orthotics Made?
Custom orthotics are molded to the exact contours of your foot, size, and type to ensure a perfect fit and feel. They should also fit your shoes perfectly. Our orthotics are made from electronically scanned images or physical impressions of your foot to ensure optimal accuracy.
If you feel like the orthotic isn’t fitted properly, it’s extremely important you let your podiatrist know right away so they can assist in getting you as comfortable as possible.
Following up on your Orthotics
In order to ensure your orthotic is doing its job, it’s recommended that you keep a healthy line of communication with your podiatrist and visit at their requested schedule. Doing this will keep track of gradual improvement and will allow you to discuss any possible adjustments needed.
If you feel orthotics are a treatment option for you, we recommend you meet with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and to discuss how to improve your foot health.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!