What are Orthotics?
These are custom-made prescription insoles that are designed to correct the alignment of the bones and joints within the foot and the lower extremity and spine.
It is a device worn in the shoes that effectively changes the manner in which the bones and muscles of the feet and legs function during walking and running. There are different styles available for casual, dress or athletic shoes.
When the foot architecture is corrected, the internal foot and external leg muscles will function at their peak performance. Everything will become less fatigued and the muscles in the upper leg, buttocks area and lower back will function with less stress as well. Many patients report that they have received lower back pain relief with the use of functional corrective orthotics.
In order to make an orthotic, each foot has a proper biomechanical exam performed to make sure the alignment is corrected properly in the new orthotic. Next a impression is taken with plaster material to capture the proper shape and contour of the foot. The plaster molds and the mechanical measurements are sent to the lab for the devices to be fabricated. Adjustments and follow-ups are usually necessary to make sure the fit is correct. It may take a week or two or a couple of months to get used to the devices, so proper break-in is suggested. Orthotics may be made for many types of shoes including: Work shoes, casual shoes as well as high heels. In addition all types of athletic shoes can be fit with an orthotic including running shoes, cleats, cycling, skate or ski boots for men, women and children. Children’s orthotics can help to guide their bones and joints especially as bones are still made of cartilage early on in life, so mechanical guidance is very important when the foot mechanics are faulty from the start. Orthotics can be made from many types of materials, and are all custom designed for each patient, based on individual needs.
Orthotics may last depending on materials used, upwards of 15 years, especially when regular refurbishing (recovering/repair) is done. Typical refurbishing should be done about every 3-5 years. Children’s orthotics are changed and re-casted as the child grows, as they typically will grow out of the devices after the child increases 2 -3 shoe sizes. We evaluate each person’s need for biomechanical correction, and can make suggestions on the perfect orthotic for your needs. We may have to make changes to the athletic or work shoes based on the correction achieved with the device. This may include going less or more stable in the midsole or out sole. Increasing ½ a shoe size may be necessary for some patients in some situations.
How do orthotics compare with arch supports?
Many people compare orthotics to commercial, mass produced arch supports. To put it simply, there is only a slight similarity! Only a custom orthotic can effectively support and control the abnormal foot, taking into account age, weight, specific sport, arch height, lower leg and foot flexibility and their biomechanical abilities. The typical life of an orthotic can be at least 10-15 years, with periodic refurbishing of the top cover’s.
What are the Common Uses of Orthotics?
- They support “fallen” or strained arches, as well as inherent muscle and bone imbalances of the foot and lower leg.
- They provide relief for knee and lower back pain, resulting from leg muscle imbalances, improper alignment of the feet, and/or leg length differences.
- They increase shock absorption, to help with decreased fat pads on the feet.
- They are important for pre and post foot surgery alignment corrections.
- They are very helpful for pediatric foot and ankle alignment conditions.
Although Orthotics are a benefit for the majority of patients, as with ALL medical procedures, there is NO guarantee that the orthotics will completely cure or help every individual who wears them.
Will Insurance Pay for Orthotics?
Very often the patients insurance plan will cover for Orthotic devices and it is advised to check with the insurance to obtain coverage benefits. Please call our office to get the proper codes and information necessary for ordering them.