A custom foot orthotic is a device that is roughly the shape of the removable inlay, such as those found in sneakers that come with your shoe when you buy it. Although the custom orthotic is roughly the shape of your shoe inlay, it is usually a bit more rigid than your inlay.
The custom foot orthotic can be made from many different materials varying from cork to plastics (such as polypropylene or subortholene).
The purpose of the custom foot orthotic is to:
1. Provide support to the bones and soft tissues of the arch of your foot.
2. Distribute pressure across the foot in an even manner so that there is not too much pressure in any one area of the foot.
3. Relieve pain in the arch of the foot, balls of the foot, heel, ankle, knees, hips and lower back (depending on cause of the pain in question).
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Custom foot orthotics, when made properly, are made by using plaster casting. The physical therapist casts the patient’s foot in a neutral position as they lie on their stomach or back. This cast hardens and is then removed.
The cast is then filled with liquid plaster, which provides the physical therapist with a custom replica of the patient’s foot in the new “correct” position the therapist wants the patient’s foot to function in. A piece of plastic, cork or other supportive material is then heated and molded to this cast with a vacuum press, which then becomes the shell of the orthotic.
This orthotic shell is the custom shape of each person’s foot manipulated by the physical therapist to achieve optimal support. Custom padding is then added to the shell of the orthotic, depending on each patient’s needs for pain relief.
The custom foot orthotic is then trimmed to fit the shoe that it will go into, however it is imperative that the orthotic be used in a shoe that fits the patient properly and has adequate support.
Custom foot orthotics can be very effective as part of a comprehensive treatment approach in relieving pain.
If you have further questions as to what custom orthotics are or how/if they can help you, please email me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, if you have any questions or topics in regard to any other muscle ache or pain that you would like to ask me or have me write a column about, please email me in that regard as well.