Custom Made Orthotics

What is an orthotic?

Biomechanical orthotic devices are custom made devices that fit inside your shoes to control the way your foot functions and help them perform at their peak efficiency. Although they resemble arch supports, true biomechanical orthotics do not work on the principle of simply supporting the arch. Instead of just supporting the arches, orthotics realign the foot by applying corrective pressure where it is needed.

Generally speaking, an orthotic is a device that is custom designed and manufactured specifically to your needs in order to control the degree of pronation and supination of the foot when walking, running, skating, skiing, or participating in other sports.

These devices are custom designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort you may suffer from conditions such as arthritis and joint pain and foot disorders such as fallen arches, heel spurs, bunions, sport injuries, etc. Orthotics are also used to help athletes and weekend warriors of all ages enhance their performance and endurance.

Orthotics may also be recommended to those individuals requiring enhanced shock absorption (e.g. arthritics, atrophy of the fibro fatty padding), and athletes who desire enhanced performance. Patients with diabetes, heel spurs, sesamoiditis, metatarsalgia, pes cavus and pes planus may benefit from the use of foot orthotics.

 

What is pronation and supination?

In simple terms, pronation is the flattening out of the arch when a person’s foot first strikes the ground. This motion acts as a major shock absorber for the body. A normal person’s foot will pronate starting when the heel first hits the ground until prior to heel lift.

Supination is the opposite motion of pronation. It allows the foot to be a more stable, rigid structure for when we push off. A normal person’s foot will supinate prior to heel lift until the foot strikes the ground again.

The truth is that we all pronate and supinate. Problems arise when there is too much motion for an improper duration of time.

Orthotics control the foot’s range and speed of motion. The muscles that counteract the range of motion work overtime when a person over pronates or over supinates. This excess muscle contraction leads to inefficiency and fatigue. A foot with the proper biomechanics is much more efficient, requires less energy, and therefore works pain free.

Some of the consequences of improper foot mechanics include:

  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
  • Morton’s Neuroma (pain or numbness in the toes)
  • Tendonitis
  • Bunions

There are generally two types of orthotics:

  1. A functional orthotic: which is designed to control or limit abnormal motion in the foot. It is typically prescribed for conditions such as heel pain (plantar fasciitis), shin splints, ankle, knee or lower back pain.
  2. An accommodative orthotic is designed to cushion and to redistribute areas of high pressure on the bottom of the foot. This type of orthotic is able to limit the occurrence of corns and calluses and ulceration. An accommodative orthotic is well suited for diabetic and arthritic patients, as well as for those who have structural deformities of the foot.

Orthotics for Kids

Children who are walking may benefit from orthotics if compensating for a foot deformity (e.g. flat feet, and in toeing). Orthotics are used to correct, control or compensate for a bone deformity or soft tissue ailment.

A chiropodist may determine that a child needs biomechanical orthotic devices to improve foot and leg function. Just as prescriptive eye glasses come in different styles and correction, so do custom orthotics. These devices will fit into the child’s footwear and help the foot perform at its peak efficiency at rest, play, or competition. By controlling foot function; accommodating deformities and other anomalies the foot will be given a chance to grow correctly.

Learn more today!

Read our blog for more information on why you should see a Chiropodist or Podiatrist for your orthotic needs and Sun Life’s Understanding Orthotics and Orthopaedic Shoes,  related to Extended Health Care Benefit claims.

Talk to us about your foot care needs. We’re a friendly bunch. Schedule an appointment today!