Foot orthotics are medical devices that a podiatrist will prescribe to treat a patient’s specific foot condition or to correct a biomechanical issue or gait anomaly. These types of orthotics are custom fitted, designed, and created, based on the patient’s actual foot and medical needs, and worn in the patient’s footwear.
What Conditions Can Orthotics Treat?
Custom orthotics can treat a variety of painful foot conditions and mobility issues including:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Heel spurs
- Fat feet
- High arches
- Improper foot alignment
- Gait disorders caused by pronation or supination issues
- Balance issues
How Are Custom Orthotics Made?
Prescription orthotics are customized to each patient’s feet. Either a plaster mold or a 3D digital scan will provide a model of the patient’s actual foot. Following the podiatrist’s prescription, the orthotic will be constructed with specific long-lasting, high-quality materials that achieve different objectives.
Rigid Orthotics. Rigid, or functional orthotics are typically made from firm materials such as carbon fiber or plastic. These types of orthotics are designed to control motion and joint function. They can be used to treat muscle strain, foot pain, flat feet, Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis, and pain in the lower back, legs, and thighs.
Soft or accommodative orthotics. These devices are made of softer, more flexible materials such as EVA foam or gel. They are designed to offload pressure and cushion sore or uncomfortable areas of the feet. They can help prevent and treat conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers, plantar fasciitis, and more.
Semi-rigid orthotics. These combine the control of a rigid orthotic with the cushioning features of a soft orthotic. They use softer material which has been reinforced by more rigid materials. These types of orthotics are often used to help provide balance when walking or doing sports, or to treat flat feet or gait abnormalities in children learning to walk.
Talk to your podiatrist about custom orthotics to explore whether they can help treat your pain or correct your alignment or gait issue.