A custom orthotic is a device designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. They look like insoles, but are biomechanical medical appliances that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance. Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes - they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. The plastic body of the custom orthotic helps to re-align the foot by redirecting and reducing certain motion that takes place during the gait cycle. Custom orthotics fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole - and they have the advantage of having been made from precise imprints of your feet. A full analysis will be conducted by our Pedorthist and casts made. Based on your needs a variety of materials can be used to give the proper support in the areas needed. Proper custom orthotics can resolve a variety of issues including leg and back pain, joint pain, tendonitis and plantar Fasciitis .
What is the difference between custom-made orthotics and generic orthotics? Custom orthotics are specifically tailored to the patient’s individual needs, beginning with proper assessments and followed by proper casting techniques. In this fashion, pedorthists can accurately replicate the patient’s foot profile and correct any deviations. Generic orthotics, or Off the Shelf orthotics (OTS), are no more than fancy arch supports. They can provide comfort for your feet, but have zero ability to correct any biomechanical dysfunction of the feet or ankles. For some patients, arch support may be all that is required, but a full biomechanical assessment is still recommended to see if that is the case.
How do you determine if a person needs orthotics? Our Pedorthist begins with a history of what is currently or may have in the past been problematic for the patient; discomfort or pain in the feet, or problems in the ankles, knees or even the hips and back. Then examines the patient’s range of motion in the lower extremities and performs a detailed gait analysis, typically by means of video gait analysis. Using video gait analysis, we can slow down and analyze the gait cycle. A full gait cycle consists of the motion that occurs between heel contact on one foot to heel contact again with that same foot during walking. Using video analysis, pedorthists can accurately measure the angle of the subtalar joints to see if they are over-pronating, and by watching your gait, can observe the varied repercussions that this pronation can have through the lower kinetic chain (feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back).
What is the difference between a Pedorthist and a Podiatrist? Canadian Certified Pedorthists are trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and biomechanics. In addition, they receive specialized education and training in the design, manufacture, fit and modifications of foot orthotics and footwear. Pedorthist help alleviate pain, abnormalities and debilitating conditions of the lower limbs and feet that when left untreated can result in reduced mobility. Podiatrists are doctors of the feet, and have many specialties. When it comes to orthotics, however, most podiatrist do not perform the casting, dispensing or modification. Pedorthists do consult with podiatrist and orthopedic surgeons when they determine that orthotics and footwear modifications are not enough to correct the patient’s problems.
Does my health insurance cover orthotics? Custom made orthotics are partially to fully covered by most extended health insurance companies. To ensure that the price of the orthotics is covered by your insurance company (fully or otherwise, depending on your plan), the orthotics have to be prescribed by a physician. We can provide a detailed analysis for your family doctor, and our Pedorthist takes pride in working in conjunction with physicians to ensure the best quality of care for our patients.