No two feet are exactly alike. They’re like snowflakes in that way, although hopefully a lot warmer.
The structure of each foot can have a significant effect when it comes to function and comfort. For example, having low arches or flat feet often causes the foot to roll too far inward (overpronate) while in motion. This can contribute toward the development of painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
When support and realignment is needed to provide comfort for a structurally based problem, custom orthotics can provide the exact, individualized help a patient needs.
What are Custom Orthotics?
An orthotic is a device designed to provide cushioning or shift the distribution of weight along the foot. It often takes the form of an insert that can be slipped into a pair of shoes and worn with them. That means they can be used both at work and in daily life.
Orthotics come in two general forms:
- Accommodative orthotics are designed to provide cushioning and/or support to a structural flaw in the foot. This is often to accommodate for an abnormality in the arches, heel, or ball of the foot. Shock and excess forces are more easily absorbed, aiding in comfort.
- Function orthotics are designed more for correcting or controlling abnormal motion that results from a structural abnormality. In our earlier example of overpronation, a functional orthotic could help keep the foot from rolling inward too far. Functional orthotics guide motion toward more natural and efficient states, and their job usually requires them to be made of stiffer materials than accommodative orthotics.
A custom-made orthotic is prescribed specifically for someone’s foot shape. The shape of the foot is gathered through the use of plaster casting, bio-foam, or even electronic scanning. This information is sent to a lab along with the specifications needed, and the orthotic is made exactly to order.
The Difference Between Prefabricated and Custom Orthotics
You might have seen orthotics you can pick up over the counter in pharmacies and stores. These have a more “one-size-fits-all” approach to addressing problems and, in doing so, tend to be cheaper than a custom-made orthotic.
We carry prefabricated orthotics ourselves, and will recommend them in certain cases. As a general rule, however, custom orthotics will more often be the preferred choice for the way they can address problems in a much more fine-tuned way. Custom orthotics are also much more durable and longer-lasting than prefabs.
And even in cases when prefabs are sufficient, knowing the right kind to have can make a world of difference. You can rely on our know-how for the best selection.
Orthotics are just one of a number of treatments we may recommend for conditions such as heel pain, metatarsalgia, and gait problems. They are also a crucial part of many diabetic foot care plans.
When it comes to your foot and ankle health, we take your lifestyle, condition, needs, and goals into mind when recommending the best treatment plan for you. Give us a call at (727) 399-7167 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with us and take your first steps toward effective pain relief.