Do I Need Custom Orthotics?

Custom foot orthotics are specially designed prescription insoles that support and comfort your feet. 

They correct abnormal mechanics of the foot and lower extremities by realigning the hip, knee, and foot and ankle. 

Prescription orthotics are specially crafted for you and no one else after your podiatrist studies your body and the way you move.

Custom orthotics precisely match your foot to accommodate your unique foot type and specific complaints. 

They work by relieving pressure on the foot and lower leg by reducing the amount of force exerted on them.  Clinical studies have shown that podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics increase foot function while reducing pain.

Why Not Buy Shoe Inserts from the Store?

Custom orthotics, which are prescribed by podiatrists, are very different from the prepackaged shoe inserts found in retail stores or available over the Internet. Over-the-counter shoe inserts may be helpful to provide cushioning for the heel or sole of the foot, or to prevent your shoes from rubbing against your toes, yet they are not effective in correcting biomechanical issues or to cure more serious, long-term foot problems.

These diagnoses require a more customized approach to treatment.  Orthotics may be a key part of a larger treatment plan that includes oral or injectable medications, stretching or strengthening exercises, and special types of shoes.

Orthotics cost more than pre-packaged shoe inserts from the store, but the cost is well worth it.  They are tailored to a patient’s individual needs so they will fit properly and successfully address that patient’s unique symptoms.  Additionally, custom orthotics last significantly longer than over-the-counter devices as a result of the durable materials used to make the devices. In some instances, insurance will help pay for prescription orthotics.

Types of Prescription Orthotics

There are 2 main types of prescription custom orthotics.

  1. Accommodative orthotics are soft, padded devices that relieve pressure on injured or painful areas on the bottom of the foot. They are commonly used the elderly or in higher risk patients with diabetes, vascular disease, or peripheral neuropathy. They can also be used to help offload painful calluses.  In order to conform to the foot, accommodative orthotics are made from an exact three-dimensional replica of the patient’s foot.  These replicas may be made from plaster or by using a state of the art 3-dimensional scanner.

The advantages of accommodative orthotics are that their flexibility and padding make them relatively comfortable and they are easy to adjust to wearing.  The disadvantages are that they are not durable, can be bulky, and may require frequent readjustments to be useful.

  1. Functional orthotics control abnormal motion and are semi-rigid devices. As with accommodative orthotics, they are also constructed from a model of a patient’s foot (by the same methods already described).  Functional orthotics are used to treat painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and bunions.  They are also used to treat hip pain, knee pain, back pain, leg pain, and shin splints.  The advantages of functional orthotics are that they are durable, fit into most types of shoes, and require infrequent adjustments.  Their disadvantages are that they may be rigid or uncomfortable and take time to adjust to wearing.

How are Podiatrists Qualified to Prescribe Orthotics?

Podiatrists are experts in the scientific field of biomechanics, the study of the movement and structure of the foot and lower extremity.  This is critically important because they can determine how an injury occurred or the underlying causes of foot pain.

This information determines which treatment is most likely to succeed and which type of orthotic is required.  Biomechanics aid podiatric surgeons to plan corrective surgeries for conditions such as flat feet, tendon transfers, or to correct foot bony deformities such as bunions.

When dealing with foot and/or ankle pain, prescription orthotics from a trained podiatrist are generally a very effective option in treating the common conditions that effect the foot and ankle and related body parts.

What To Do To Get Custom Foot Orthotics

Call The Timonium Foot and Ankle Center today to schedule your appointment for a custom orthotics consultation at 410-560-2777, or fill out the form on the top right of this page.

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