Not all Orthotic are created equal. Let Feet First show
you what make the differences for your feet.
Serving Sault Ste. Marie and District.
All ORTHOTICS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
Many different kinds of in-shoe devices are referred to as "Orthotics". You'll see "Orthotics" in TV infomercials,
mall kiosks, stands at consumer shows as well as a
growing number of specialty retail
shops. Arch supports and sport insoles sold
in drug and sporting goods
stores are increasingly referred to as
"Orthotics". Then there are the
Orthotics that foot health care
specialists and related
professionals prescribe for their
For most consumers, telling the
difference between all the different types
of Orthotics (and making an informed
purchasing decision) is a challenge.
Recognizing slick sales "spin" and separating it
from the facts can be an even bigger challenge.
Following is some information that may help.
There are three common types of foot Orthotics: Custom Made, Customized and Off-the-Shelf
Custom devices like those prescribed and dispensed by foot health care professionals that are made in a
qualified Lab from three dimensional volumetric impressions of the feet (Plaster casts or 3D Scans). See
"Custom Prescription Foot Orthotics" below.
Customized devices are relatively new in the market and can be difficult to distinguish from genuine custom
ones. They are typically made by adding "custom" components to a non-custom or pre-manufactured shell or
insole and are commonly a product of computerized force platform systems that capture and display pressure
information. Unfortunately, they are often marketed as "custom" and sold at similar prices. One way to tell the
difference is if the person recommending Orthotics does not take a plaster cast or form impression of your feet
in order to make them, chances are you won't be getting true custom Orthotics. Walking across or standing on a
computerized force platform with a colourful graphic display is an excellent way to evaluate some aspects of
foot function and measure pressure distribution. In qualified hands, force platforms can be useful diagnostic
tools but they are incapable of capturing true, three dimensions volumetric impressions of the foot. Beware of
the slick sales "spin" - IF THERE IS NO CAST - IT CAN'T BE CUSTOM.
Off-the-Shelf devices are most commonly found in retail drug, sporting goods and shoe stores as well as some
specialty shops. Some foot health care professionals recommend them for minor foot problems. They rarely
cost more than $35 - $50 and the better quality ones can provide a good measure of arch support and
cushioning. Popular brands sold in Canada include: Spenco ®, Superfeet ®, and Sole®.
If you are having foot and/or leg problems and want to know if Orthotics are right for you (and if so, what kind),
start by consulting your local foot health care professional. For help choosing a foot health care professional or
qualified foot Orthotics provider in your area, consult your family doctor.
Getting what's right for you begins with a thorough examination by a qualified foot health care professional. You
won't find these people on TV, in the Mall, or at a consumer show. Minor foot problems can often be treated with
an inexpensive, off-the-shelf Orthotics and/or some qualified footwear selection and fitting advice. More
pronounced or persistent problems usually require a more precise customized Orthotics solution.
Custom Prescription Foot Orthotics are precision medical devices that are designed to adjust and control the
function of the foot and it's alignment with the lower leg. They are used to treat/prevent injury causing motions
including excessive pro-nation (collapsing in) and supination (rolling out) and make standing, walking and
running more efficient. Some prescription Orthotics are designed to redistribute pressures on the bottom of your
foot to alleviate pain from corns, calluses or boney prominences.
Genuine, custom-made prescription foot Orthotics are made by starting with a thorough exam by a qualified
health care professional followed by the taking of cast impressions using plaster or impression foam material
and the completion of a detailed prescription form. Your casts and prescription form are then sent to a
professional Lab where your Orthotics are made by technicians with appropriate training and qualifications.
Successful prescription foot Orthotics therapy requires an experienced foot health care professionals training
and clinical experience combined with a qualified Lab's technical skills and material technology expertise.
Physical therapy and/or at home stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as qualities shoe fitting advice
are common parts of successful Orthotics therapy.
Pedorthic Assessment (as required) This appointment includes a physical, static and dynamic assessment of
the lower limbs and feet. This appointment is necessary when an individual is complaining of foot and lower
limb discomfort. It may also be necessary of an individual presenting with a foot deformity or other problems
such as a leg length difference.
© Feet First Inc. 2011
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