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If you’re suffering from foot pain, it is likely the result of a misalignment between the bones and muscles of your foot. Arch and heel pain is not the only effect of this misalignment – it may also be at the root of such problems as knee pain, bunions and corns, bursitis, tendinitis, and sometimes even back pain.

Custom Foot Orthotics

Podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics are an effective treatment for these problems. Custom orthotics are insoles-like devices designed to realign the foot and ankle to their proper working position. These biomechanical medical appliances are custom made to correct your particular foot imbalance. Designed to match exactly the contours of your feet and the way you move, they habituate proper alignment by redirecting certain motion that takes place while you walk.

Production of custom orthotics is a meticulous process, consisting of three main steps:

  1. The casting of your feet (a critical step, and one that should ideally be done by a medical professional).
  2. The examination of your feet by the doctor and the issuance of appropriate prescription to treat your particular condition
  3. The making of the orthotics in a lab in accordance with the doctor’s prescription and the specs of your cast

Casting of the feet

There are four methods used for making the cast:

  1. Plaster or foam box casting (The patient sits with the foot placed down to produce the cast)
  2. Force plate (The patient walks across a force plate to create the cast)
  3. Digital imager (The patient stands on a digital imager)
  4. Three-dimensional non-weight-bearing laser scan or cast (The patient’s foot is placed in the position in which it should function, without any weight on the foot, and the image of the foot is taken using laser scan, fiberglass or plaster)

Many doctors believe that the non-weight baring laser scan is the best technique to produce a properly functioning orthotics.

Doctor’s examination

The examination starts with your communication of the details of your ailment to the doctor. The doctor then conducts a biomechanical examination of your feet and an analysis of your gait in order to determine the exact nature of your misalignment.

Based on this examination and the cast of your foot, the doctor issues a prescription for your orthotics. This carefully thought-out prescription will address such issues as the flexibility of the material that should be used in your orthotics (taking into account your weight, occupation, and regular activities), the width of the device, the depth of the heel cup, and other additions to address your specific problem(s).

Lab fabrication

The doctor’s prescription, along with the cast of your feet, is then sent to an orthotic lab where your custom orthotics will be made.

Your orthotics will be delivered to you along with advice about what to expect during the initial breaking-in period. You may initially experience some discomfort wearing the orthotics as the body goes through a period of adjustment. It may take up to four weeks for you to start feeling comfortable using the device, as your body needs time to adjust to the orthotics’ realigning function, but the long term payoff is well worth the short period of discomfort.

For more information about custom orthotics, call Dynamic Physiotherapy.

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