We see a lot of patients over the course of any given week here at Brampton Foot Clinic and the one thing that they all have in common is that they generally are full of questions. It’s understandable, most people don’t have any reason to think about orthotics in Brampton before they have need of them and, like any new experience, your first visit to our offices can be a mysterious and somewhat confusing event.
Over time, we’ve noticed that many of these questions tend to repeat themselves, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide our patients with a comprehensive FAQ that covers them all to help demystify the process and give our patients a leg up on their first visit.
What Are Orthotics?
Custom orthotics, also known as orthoses, are medical devices that non-surgically alleviate the problems associated with a number of conditions including musculoskeletal conditions and diabetes. They also serve to redistribute pressure on your foot more efficiently and correct abnormalities in your gait that can cause pain or discomfort over time.
These devices most commonly take the form of inserts for your footwear, but can also include other devices such as ankle braces.
How Do Custom Orthotics Differ From Off-The-Shelf Shoe Inserts?
Store-bought shoe inserts are a “one size fits all” affair and are fine for people who just need a little extra cushioning for their shoes. Custom orthotics, on the other hand, are prescription medical devices that are custom fit to each individual patient’s particular medical needs through a number of diagnostic and precise fitting techniques that can include taking foot casts and/or 3-d scans of your foot.
It might help to think of orthotics like prescription glasses. No two patients have the same needs and lenses, like orthotics, need to be custom made for each patient to ensure that their eyes focus properly and to avoid further damage to their vision. The same goes for your feet!
By carefully diagnosing your specific musculoskeletal idiosyncrasies, your chiropodist is able to tailor your orthotics to alleviate whichever condition you are experiencing that necessitates them without causing further harm.
What Are The Benefits Of Custom Orthotics?
There are a number of reasons one might wear an orthotic device, both to prevent the onset of problems and to alleviate the issues associated with specific health concerns. Common benefits of orthotic devices include:
- Prevent or alleviate pain throughout the lower Healthy Body.
- Maintain the correct alignment of the feet and legs.
- Improve balance.
- Improved support for your arches and heels.
- Alleviate complications and further development of clawed digits and bunions.
- Shock absorption.
- Redistribute pressure across the foot.
- Divert pressure from areas likely to experience the development of corns, calluses, and ulcerations.
- Promote general health by allowing longer periods of activity.
Which Conditions Require Orthotic Devices?
Orthotics are used to control the symptoms of a wide array of conditions, including but not limited to: Arthritis, Lower Back And Leg Pain, Shin Splints, Hallux Abducto Valgus (Bunions), Hallux Pain, Metatarsal Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Pain, Heel Spurs, Pes Cavus (High-Arched Feet), Pes Planus (Flat Feet), Morton’s Neuroma, Achilles Tendonitis, Hip Pain
What Should I Expect During The Fitting Process?
The process of being fitted for an orthotic device is a pretty straightforward procedure that will include:
- Thorough Questioning About Your Medical History
- A Biomechanical Assessment Of Your Lower Healthy Body
- A Clinical Analysis Of Your Gait
- A Footwear Evaluation
- A 3-D Scan Of Your Foot And/Or The Taking Of A Plaster Mold
- Recommendations For Additional Therapies
What Types Of Shoes Are Compatible With Orthotic Devices?
Nearly every type of footwear can accommodate orthotic devices, yes, even sandals! Compatible types of footwear include:
- Running Shoes
- Winter Boots
- Sports Cleats
- Dress Shoes
- Work Boots- Including Steel Toe
- Kitchen Shoes
- Golf Shoes
Can Additional Or Replacement Orthotics Be Made From My Existing Mold?
As long as there are no significant changes to the size of your foot and you have not undergone any surgical procedures to your foot in the time following the taking of your mold, it’s no problem at all to have more orthotic devices made from your existing mold.
Will There Be A “Break-In” Period After I Receive My Orthotic Device?
Because you orthotic device will cause changes to the way you carry your Healthy Body, initially, your Healthy Body may protest. It is often recommended that you gradually increase the amount of time you wear your device throughout the day until your Healthy Body has had a chance to adjust to the device.
Unfortunately, this process can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable. Pain that goes beyond simple discomfort, bruising, and blisters are all signs that you may need to have your device adjusted. If you experience any of these symptoms, cease use of your device and immediately arrange for an appointment to address the issue.
Generally, the break-in period should last no more than a few weeks of gradually increasing your use of the device. We will help guide you through this process and offer recommendations based on your needs before the end of your appointment.
How Long Can I Expect My Orthotic Device To Last?
Generally, you can expect your orthotic device to last between 2 and 4 years. However, there are many factors that can impact the lifespan of your device. A marathon runner is likely to burn through a device quite a bit more quickly than someone who simply wears their device around the home or office.
Your level of activity and any changes brought about by your medical condition can all impact the lifespan of your device. Damaged orthotic devices can also be repaired to extend the service life of the device.
Do I Need An Appointment To Visit Your Office?
We always welcome new patients, but we do ask that you make an appointment to be seen. If you have an emergency that requires immediate attention, we will do our best to accommodate you with a same-day appointment, if possible.
Do I need A Referral To Visit Your Office?
As chiropodists, we are fully qualified and legislated to make prescriptions, manufacture and dispense custom foot orthotics. So all you need to do is contact our office to make an appointment.