Orthotics are insoles uniquely prescribed by your doctor to meet the needs and demands of your feet. Similar to prescription eyeglasses custom foot orthotics (CFO) provide a means of improving foot function.
While orthotics may not cure all foot and leg conditions, they can serve as an excellent first line conservative treatment option either delaying or preventing the need for surgical correction.
Orthotics are commonly made by taking a plaster impression of one’s feet. This cast highlights the foot’s unique imperfections. A good cast will highlight these imperfections and redirect these deforming forces allowing the foot to function in a more efficient manner.
One such example involves the motion of the Achilles Tendon which moves like that of a pendulum found on a grandfather clock swaying back and forth during the cycle of walking. An orthotic can provide relief from an inflamed painful tendon by cupping the heel and blocking the motion causing pain. Simply put, the orthotic meets the ground for the foot and ankle reducing the work on the foot.
Orthotics can also relieve stress on the foot by removing pressure points that can lead to skin damage and stress fractures. Painful callused areas or areas of thickened skin on the bottom of the foot are signs that too much pressure is on one spot in the foot. These calluses, if allowed to get too thick, can lead to more serious ulcerations (holes in the feet), resulting in bone infection and hospitalization. To avoid this complication, the painful callus is pocketed when the orthotic is made and the forces from the ground are placed onto the orthotic shell instead of the foot. This in turn prevents the callus from returning completely or minimizes the thickness of the callus a great deal.