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.

Prescription Orthotics

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 are made.

Rigid 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

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.




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