An orthotic device is any foot pad, shoe or heel insert, or ankle brace. They may be purchased over-the-counter or as custom-molded, individually designed pieces. Orthotics are used to treat various conditions of the foot and ankle, and are often effective in relieving common complaints.
As a general statement, the most common indication for the use of orthotics is flatfeet. Our literature suggests that many patients do not need custom orthotics, although certainly, some will. Orthotics are often sufficient to appropriately address the condition, however, orthotics made specifically for the individual patient will adhere to the body more than over-the-counter options.
Orthotic devices may be recommended for several reasons, including aligning and supporting the foot or ankle, preventing, correcting or accommodating foot deformities, and improving the overall function of the foot or ankle. A very common use for orthotics is for treatment of high arched feet, plantar fasciitis or flatfeet.
To relieve symptoms of pain and correct any natural foot deformity, custom made orthotics are the best option for patients. Dr. Vora will analyze the structure of your foot and ankle to custom fit your very own orthotic shoe inserts. Acting as an added support structure, your entire body will feel the difference. To learn more about how orthotics can improve your everyday movement, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Vora to discuss your options and get custom fitted today!
Modified from the AAOS
What are the biggest benefits from orthotics?
As explained by Dr. Anand Vora.
Orthotics actually have a very large role in the foot and ankle because it’s one of our main nonoperative treatment modalities for almost all conditions. So the things that can benefit from orthotics are actually quite varied and it’s really patient-specific and dependent. Almost everything we treat in the foot or ankle has some type of connection, because the foot and ankle is 26 ball bearings of bones that fit together, and these ball bearings all are together in some type of conjunction mechanism for the entire foot and ankle to work together properly. Sometimes, taking pressure off the ball of the foot with an orthotic can help address a high-arched ankle issue and resolve instability of the ankle. So it’s actually quite amazing how powerful an orthotic can be in addressing conditions. The real issue for orthotics is making sure that we’re using them appropriately, so we take a lot of care to try to use over the counter or less expensive orthotics when applicable. Custom orthotics are still very effective in trying to avoid surgery in many patients, and so we do that often for patients that have a flat foot with the classed arch that’s asymmetric. We do that for high-arched feet, but we also find a lot of pain relief for patients that have pain in the ball of their foot. That’s called Metatarsalgia. Similarly, we find a lot of pain relief with orthotics for treatments for a condition called a Neuroma, which also causes pain on the ball of the foot. So the treatment for orthotics and the use for orthotics is quite variable but very effective if properly utilized.
What is a foot specialist’s role in their creation?
Our role and my role within Illinois Bone and Joint as an orthopedic surgeon is to utilize over the corner orthotics when applicable and then also appropriately refer to our excellent supporting podiatry staff that can help with custom orthotics. In our particular location, we have excellent podiatrists as well as physical therapists to help fabricate the orthotics. We specifically try to help guide the need for treatment in fabrication based upon the diagnosis. So we’ll let the treating provider that’s going to create the orthotic know exactly how we want the orthotics to be created. You have some specifications that we believe will help alleviate the underlying issue, where the orthotic needs to have specific postings or have adjustments to allow for release of pressure points or lack thereof, and then give that information in an appropriate manner to our supporting teams so that the team can create the orthotics in the most effective manner.