Custom orthotics are prescription medical devices. They’re designed to improve the biomechanics of
your foot, provide control and proper
support. When properly prescribed, custom orthotics will alter the way
your feet interact with the ground, controlling the motion of your feet and eliminating stress on your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Putting the foot into a correct position while walking, running, and standing
will improve your overall skeletal alignment (knees, hips, spine), often eliminating the specific cause of your pain not just the symptoms.
Who should wear custom orthotics?
Almost anyone can benefit from orthotics, from children to adults. However, everyone’s
feet are unique.
Therefore, orthotics should be specifically designed and custom fitted to each individual to eliminate any problems.
An analogy can be made between orthotics and eyeglasses – both devices require an examination to determine
the proper degree of correction or support necessary. Most qualified practitioners in assessing and treating
feet are a chiropodist or podiatrist.
Custom orthotics are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, including:
• Chronic heel (plantar fasciitis),
knee, or low back pain
• Frequent ankle sprains
• Gait abnormalities (feet point inward or excessively outward during walking)
• Shin splints
• Ankle instability
How Do Orthotics Work?
One of the foot's main functions is to absorb shock as the body's weight shifts with each step. It does this through a complex process in which the arch of the foot flattens slightly. This process is known as pronation and it helps with shock absorption when body weight is placed on each foot. However, there are two major problems that
can occur in this mechanism. If the foot flattens too much it will cause the arch to collapse resulting in flat feet. On the flip side, if the foot doesn’t flatten enough, which is usually the case in high arched feet, too little pronation will occur. This can send shock throughout the leg, resulting in knee, hip and possible lower back pain.
Custom orthotics are prescribed to address a specific problem, such as over pronation or too little pronation. Therefore, a complete biomechanical exam of the foot, both weight and non-weight bearing, and a thorough gait analysis by a chiropodist/podiatrist is necessary to obtain a detailed clinical picture to correct your specific problem.
How Are Orthotics Made?
One of the most important parts in this process is a prescription that addresses the
specific problem and the cast (mold) of your feet. This cast is used to produce the shell of the
orthotic and, based on the chiropodist/podiatrist prescription, certain materials
and modifications are added to achieve a custom made orthotic. Various types of orthotics are available, ranging from diabetic orthotics to highly corrective (i.e. gait plate) orthotics.
This is a cast (mold) of a patient’s feet using plaster.
This is a custom made orthotic with arch support and a deep heel cup.
3D Optical Laser Scanner
Our clinic offers the latest technology in orthotic casting by using the next generation 3D optical laser scanner. The 3D laser is the only laser that allows the clinician to hold the foot in the correct, neutral position to achieve a true tri-dimensional image of your foot. It gives a reading almost every 400ths of an inch making it the most accurate way of casting. It also makes it possible to quickly check the cast to ensure it corresponds to the biomechanical examination of the foot. This further improves accuracy of the orthotic.
The 3D laser system differs from pressure scanners or pressure mats since it allows for a true volumetric cast to be taken that can be further modified in 3D. Other systems capture the foot in a two-dimensional way that only shows the pressure points when weight is applied on the foot. It doesn’t allow for NON-WEIGHT BEARING correction or for the volumetric cast to be taken. Pressure mats or scans were developed for gait analysis and not for volumetric scans, which can't be used in orthotic making.