My Podiatrist Recommended Orthotics, But What exactly Are They?

by | Jun 9, 2021

Orthotics are devices that are often mass-produced and can help provide your feet with the extra
support, stability, and shock absorption that is required for optimal biomechanical function of the feet.
Custom orthotics are medical devices prescribed by a foot and ankle surgeon/podiatrist that are based
on a prescription specific to YOUR feet. They are custom made based on individual needs. There are two
types of custom orthotics: accommodative and functional.

Accommodative orthotics

Accommodative orthotics can be used to accommodate or offload a prominent area. They don’t change
the function of the foot; however; they support the structure of the foot as they reduce the amount of
pressure, shock, and shear on your bones, joints, and tissues when ambulating. They can be used to
offload painful calluses, bony prominences, bursitis and ulcers. Accommodative orthotics are widely
used as part of diabetic foot care. You can add soft spots to accommodate your deformity or even a toe
filler to fill the void of a missing toe in your shoes. There are many types of soft orthotic material that
can be used for the top cover of an accommodative orthotic; however, Plastazote is the material of
choice.

Functional Orthotics

Functional orthotics help with the function of the foot. They help rebalance forces across your feet and
adjust the biomechanics so you don’t walk with pain anymore. They can control abnormal pronation,
support and protect the ankles, and allow your feet to move through the entire gait with the foot more
closer to its neutral/ideal position. They can be used to treat conditions such as tendonitis, fasciitis,
flexible flat feet etc. They tend to be made from more rigid or semi-rigid materials however the top
cover can be adjusted for your individual needs. Functional orthotics are great for heel pain, most sports
injuries, and can even help delay the need for surgery if it is not desired at a specific time or if a child
must wait for growth plates to close and for his or her skeleton to be more physically mature.

Your feet are the foundation of your entire body. And just like a crumbling foundation can cause
problems throughout your house, poor foot biomechanics can force knees, hips, and back to adjust and
compensate which can result in pain throughout the entire body. Orthotics help rebalance and adjust
those forces so you can enjoy that morning and evening walk pain free!

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