Orthotics are devices placed into a shoe to correct an abnormality
in the position of the foot during standing and walking. Over
the counter orthotics or arch supports as they are often called
may help reduce mild symptoms for certain foot conditions.
Prescription orthotics or foot orthoses as they are also called
are used to treat various types of foot conditions and more
completely address mechanical and structural abnormalities
in the foot as they are specifically fit to each individuals
unique foot type.
There are different types of orthotics to specifically meet
the needs of different conditions and foot types. There are
orthotics that control function of the foot during walking
known as functional orthotics and there are orthotics referred
to as accommodative orthoses designed to protect the foot
from excessive weight bearing pressure over particular areas.
There are also orthotics which are a combination of functional
and accommodative types.
After a podiatrist takes a plaster impression of the foot,
a mold of the foot is made from the impression.. Depending
upon the condition being treated and the unique foot type,
specific modifications may be made on the mold prior to designing
the orthotics. It is from this final mold that the orthotics
Rigid orthotics are designed to control function of the foot
during standing and walking. When orthotics are worn in shoes,
the foot is maintained in a corrected biomechanical position
at the major joints in the back of the foot and at the ankle.
This provides increased stability through the entire foot
during everyday function. Rigid orthotics are typically made
from a plastic, graphite or composite material.
Flexible or Semi-Rigid Orthotics
Flexible or semi-rigid orthotics are designed with varying
levels of flexibility. They may be designed with a combination
of materials including a soft upper layer over a semi-rigid
lower layer. These devices allow for control of motion while
also providing shock absorption from high impact activities
such as sports involving running and jumping. They may also
be used to treat flatfoot in children as well as in-toeing
and out-toeing disorders.
Soft orthotics also referred to as accommodative orthoses
are made from soft materials and provide cushioning. They
are used to absorb shock during standing and walking. They
are used to reduce or eliminate pressure diabetic, arthritic
or deformed feet.