Orthotics are inserts that go into your shoes. They are designed to support or correct the alignment of a body part, typically the feet or ankles. They can be used to address foot, knee, hip, or back pain or to improve overall biomechanical function. Orthotics can be custom-made or prefabricated, made from foam, plastic, or metal.

Custom Orthotics

A custom orthotic is an insole made specifically for an individual to correct any biomechanical issues in their gait, helping to improve walking, standing, running, or exercising. It can prevent the worsening of foot conditions such as bunions and hammertoes and can also provide long-term treatment for ailments like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

The ultimate goal of a custom orthotic is to optimize foot function to prevent future injuries and alleviate pressure on other joints in the body. Stabilizing the feet can reduce pain in the ankles, knees, hips, and back. 

Prefabricated Orthotics

A prefabricated orthotic is an orthotic device that is already manufactured and ready to use without the need for customization. These orthotics are typically made in standard sizes and designs. You may have seen them at a store recently. 

Prefabricated orthotics are designed to provide basic support and cushioning for the foot. They may be used to treat mild foot conditions or as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury.

The Benefits of Orthotics

  1. Correcting biomechanical problems: Individual foot abnormalities like overpronation or supination are addressed by custom orthotics. Orthotics can improve gait, lessen discomfort, and avert further injuries by addressing these problems.
  2. Alleviating discomfort: By offering support, padding, and shock absorption to the feet, custom orthotics can help reduce foot, knee, hip, and back pain.
  3. Enhancing athletic performance: Orthotics can help during physical exercise to provide balance, stability, and shock absorption, which can enhance athletic performance.
  4. Preventing foot deformities: By relieving pressure on the problematic area, custom orthotics can stop the advancement of foot deformities, including bunions and hammer toes.
  5. Adapting to particular foot ailments: Particular foot conditions, like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and neuropathy, can be accommodated by custom orthotics.

Do You Need Orthotics?

Are you considering orthotics but aren’t sure if they're right for you? Here are some points to consider:

  • Foot pain: especially in the ball, arch, or heel, maybe a sign that the feet are not being adequately supported.
  • High arches or flat feet: these conditions can lead to a number of issues with the feet and legs. Orthotics can assist in providing essential support to prevent these problems from happening.
  • Supination or overpronation occurs when the foot rolls outward too much, and overpronation happens when the foot rolls inward too much. Orthotics can be used to treat either of these disorders.
  • Joint discomfort: may indicate an improperly aligned foot structure or gait.

How to Choose the Best Shoe Insert

Choosing the best shoe insert, or insole, depends on individual needs and preferences. Custom orthotics provide more stability and support while correcting biomechanical issues with the feet. Custom orthotics are not a one-size-fits-all; they are specifically created to meet the individual needs of your foot and foot type. Where prefabricated orthotics provide a cushion.

If you are an athlete, stand on your feet for long periods of time, work or stand on hard floors every day or have underlying foot conditions- custom orthotics are your best option. 

FAQ’s About Orthotics

  1. Does insurance cover orthotics?

    1. Your insurance may cover some or all of the costs of orthotics. Prefabricated orthotics are not covered by insurance like toothpaste is not. Custom orthotics are seen as a medical devices and can be covered under your plan. You can call your insurance company to check your coverage or call our office to schedule an appointment, and we will work with your insurance company.
  2. How are orthotics made custom?

    1. Our team at Fixing Feet Institute will cast your feet into a mold. We send that mold to the lab, and your orthotics are crafted based on the mold. The mold will show the lab any foot abnormalities, such as bunions or calluses so that the orthotic can accommodate them. This is one of the benefits of having custom orthotics rather than over-the-counter or prefabricated orthotics.
  3. Do orthotics hurt?

    1. Orthotics should not be painful. We encourage patients to slowly “break in” their orthotics. You should wear them in your shoes around the house for a few hours each day for a week to allow your foot to adjust. Orthotics correct the biomechanical issues in your foot, so your foot might need time to adjust to the correct way of walking. That said, they should not hurt when you are wearing them. If you have any pain or discomfort, you should visit your podiatrist or call our office.
Dr. Peyman A. Elison
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Founder and Managing Partner of Fixing Feet Institute

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