Custom Made Shoe Inserts Are Provided for the Patients With Various Deformities
A Treatment for Foot and Leg Dysfunction and Pain Why Do I Need Orthotics?
Your Brooklyn podiatrist, Dr. E, recommended the use of a foot orthotic to control, relieve or treat your foot disorder. These devices may relieve pain or prevent the return of painful foot symptoms through control of foot function and mechanics. No doubt you have questions about orthotics, and hopefully, this brochure will help to answer your questions.
Normally, the best orthotics are custom-made and specifically crafted to meet the needs of a particular patient. They may be combined with other forms of treatment such as injections, medications, physical therapy, or surgery. Therefore they are an important component in the treatment and prevention of many foot disorders.
Laboratory Fabricated Orthotics
Orthotics are custom-fabricated shoe inserts manufactured from many types of materials such as plastic, polypropylene, and graphite. They are worn on a full-time basis to control the way in which your foot functions as you walk. There are many kinds of orthotic devices, prescribed specifically to your activity level, foot problems, and other health factors. From walking to running, aerobics to basketball, orthotics can help you continue to enjoy your favorite activities.
Functional foot orthotics are made from neutral position plaster or fiberglass castings, foam trays or 3-D foot scanned images provided by machines like the TOM-CAT foot scanning system (pictured). The practitioner sends these along with the clinical information to an orthotics laboratory, such as SOLO Laboratories Inc., where a technician reviews the cast or image and the prescription. Some labs like SOLO use computer-aided-design/computer-aided-manufacturing programs (known as CAD-CAM) to scan your foot impressions from the cast or foam tray for the best possible fit.
After the order and image are approved for production, a technical specialist takes responsibility for the fabrication and the quality control of the individual prescription. The custom-fabricated orthotics are sent to the prescribing doctor to dispense with instructions for the patient.
Types of Orthotics
Because we are born with different foot structures, and because we engage in different occupations and activities, there are specific grades of orthotics for individual patients. Orthotics can be used for children, adults, athletes, elderly patients, and often patients following surgery. Orthotics can be categorized into three general groups—rigid, semi-rigid, or soft/flexible—each with a specific purpose to either alter foot function or accommodate foot deformity.
Rigid orthotics offer maximum functional control, especially in regulating foot motion during the gait cycle. They are often made from plastic or different grades of polypropylene and are perfectly suited for the growing child in which stabilization of gait, support, and proper growth alignment maintenance is important. Rigid orthotics are often used to treat foot and leg pain, leg length differences, and abnormal foot function.
Semi-rigid orthotics combine foot protection with leg and foot function control. Often used as a sports orthotic to control operation of the foot during athletic performance, these orthotics can also protect the athlete from stress-related sports injuries. A combination of different materials, allowing for function control and shock absorption, is used to fabricate these orthotics for different sports such as golf, tennis, basketball, baseball, football, jogging, aerobics, skiing, etc.
Soft/Flexible orthotics maximize shock absorption for the patient who may have lost the normal fat-pad cushioning of the foot. Since this condition produces painful pressure areas, soft/flexible orthotics are used as a replacement for the body’s fat pad. These devices are made with leather and softer plastic materials to provide off-loading and cushioning. They are helpful for diabetics, arthritis, and patients with severely deformed feet and are strongly recommended for geriatric patients.
Durability and Longevity
Orthotics usually require a gradual break-in period of two to four weeks. You may become a daily orthotic wearer depending on your problem or diagnosis and how your foot responds to orthotic control. Sometimes patients need one pair for work and another for recreation. Women who wear different heel heights could require an additional pair.
Orthotics have a variable life span subject to your activity level. Generally, most require periodic repair and/or refurbishing over time. Taking care of your orthotics by replacing torn or badly worn covers or broken posts (additions put on the orthotics) can extend the life of the devices. If the orthotics crack, lose shape or start rocking in your shoes, then it is time to revisit your podiatrist because the devices will not function correctly.
Shoes and Orthotics
When purchasing new shoes, try them on with your orthotics. The style should conform to the orthotics for a comfortable fit. Each time you purchase shoes, they will need to be checked for comfort level and fit with your orthotics. You can’t assume the orthotics will fit correctly in all shoes because shoe sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Your evaluation for orthotics by a Brooklyn podiatrist will include a complete biomechanical exam. This exam evaluates your specific gait pattern and joint motion involving your lower extremity. Your foot type, muscle strength, age, activity level, and shoe gear will also be evaluated in order to properly prescribe your foot orthotics.