Orthotics is the the branch of medicine that deals with the provision and use of artificial devices such as splints and braces. An orthotic is an artificial support or brace for the limbs or spine. Foot orthoses (also known as “orthotics”) are custom foot supports. Custom orthotics are medical shoe inserts designed to support your heels, arches, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones in the feet. They are designed to fit your feet more efficiently than over-the-counter (OTC) arch supports and balance the biomechanical inadequacies of your feet and legs. A foot pad or heel insert purchased at your local pharmacy or sporting goods store is an orthotic device. So is a custom-molded, individually designed shoe insert or ankle brace. Orthotic devices like these are frequently used to treat various conditions of the foot and ankle.

Foot orthotics are shoe inserts that can be custom-made to prescribed specifications or purchased “off-the-shelf.” Custom-made orthotics are generally considered more effective and of higher quality than prefabricated foot orthotics. They are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Orthotics are only manufactured after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, so the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology. Custom-made foot orthotics can:

  • Correct an abnormal walking pattern or gait
  • Reduce pain
  • Provide support
  • Prevent or protect against worsening foot deformity
  • Provide better positioning (foot alignment)
  • Relieve pressure on a certain area of the foot
  • Improve the overall mechanics of the foot and lower extremi

Although custom orthoses are considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf devices, they last much longer and provide more support or correction. They are also very effective in relieving common complaints. Foot orthotics can be made from different materials, and may be rigid, semirigid, semiflexible, or accommodative, depending on your diagnosis and specific needs.

How Are Custom Foot Orthotics Made? 

The cause of the foot pain, whether due to injury or a disease or condition, is what determines the type of foot orthotic that is designed for an individual patient. The removable shoe inserts are made by taking an impression of the foot with a plaster cast mold or a 3-D laser scan and then making adjustments, if necessary.

Prescription orthotics are also made of top-notch materials and last many years when cared for properly. Insurance often helps pay for prescription orthotics.

NOTICE: Healthmanagementcorp does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area.