Orthoses, or orthotic devices, are shoe inserts that are intended to correct an abnormal, or irregular, walking pattern. Orthoses are not truly or solely ԡrch supportsԬ though some people use those words to describe them, and they perhaps can be best understood with those words in mind. They perform functions that make standing, walking, and running more comfortable and efficient, by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes a walking or running surface.
Doctors of Podiatric Medicine prescribe the use of orthotics as conservative approaches to many foot problems. Their use is a highly successful, and practical approach to treatment. They take various forms and are constructed of various materials. All are concerned with improving foot function and minimizing stress forces that could ultimately cause foot deformity and pain.
Foot orthoses fall into three broad categories: those that primarily attempt to change foot function, those that are primarily protective in nature, and those that combine function control and protection.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
As your foot rests on the orthotic it is gently and consistently directed into the correct position for walking, running, and standing. With a pair of orthotics, pressure points, improper rotation of the foot, and painful muscle strain are all eliminated because your foot is functioning properly.
HOW ARE THEY MADE?
First you must be fitted for them. Your podiatrist will give you a complete examination and determine your particular foot problem. They will then make a plaster impression of your feet held in the correct position. When the casts are finished, they are sent to an orthotic laboratory where they are used to produce your orthotics. Here technicians, following your doctorӳ specifications, add special sponge padding, heel lifts, or built up areas to customize an orthotic to correct your specific problem. The lab sends them back to your doctor and theyӲe ready for walking.
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WEAR THEM?
Thereӳ really not an answer to this question. You see, orthotics do not cure your foot problem. They work on the same principle as glasses, a doctor may prescribe glasses for you, but they wonӴ cure your vision problem. Instead, orthotics simply modify the function of your foot as you continue to wear them. Remember, your feet are the foundation for your entire body. Obtaining and consistently wearing orthotics can be the best investment you can make in your overall well-being.
The success of your orthotic treatment depends greatly on you and your expectations. Your foot problem took time to develop, so donӴ expect your symptoms to go away overnight. But if you wear your orthoses as instructed, your symptoms can lessen over time. Also keep in mind that your orthoses can help you move more comfortably, but they wonӴ change the structure of the adult foot.
Once your wearing your orthoses full-time, regular podiatric checkups can help you maintain the health of your feet. As with contact lenses, your orthotic prescription may change over time, and your podiatrist may recommend new orthoses. Your physician will recommend a follow-up schedule to meet your individual needs.