What Orthotic is best for me?

With so many orthotics available today is it any wonder there is so much confusion as to which one is best for you.

Patients often present seeking advice and treatment for foot pain of biomechanical origin. Orthotics are designed to help increase best foot function.

Some of the common problems a patient might present with include heel pain, bunions, arch and ankle pain, ball of foot pain with or without associated problems in the knees, hips, back and in some cases higher up.

Orthotics can be made to be either fully customized or off the shelf, with or without customization.

Custom orthotics are made specifically for your foot. After an initial biomechanical assessment an impression of your foot is taken. Your podiatrist will then decide on a prescription for your orthotics. Design and material choice is made according to your presenting complaint. There are many different materials to choose from, ranging from fully rigid to soft.

Generally, the more rigid device is used for control and support and the softer for accommodation of conditions like boney lesions, or when more dynamic motion is required.

Off the shelf orthotics are just that. They are a generic molded shell that can be dispensed as is or customized with rearfoot posts or soft tissue additions. These may include forefoot addition for conditions such as mortons neuroma, plantar plate tear, bursitis or arthritic conditions. These types of orthotics are not suitable for all patients.

Custom orthotics are more expensive as they are custom made to your foot and require much longer fabrication time. The quality of the materials used in custom orthotics are of a higher grade for durability.

Off the shelf orthotics can be suitable for some people. They are generally made of materials that are nondurable and will need replacing at least yearly. Your podiatrist can dispense your off the shelf orthotics, along with a biomechanical assessment to make sure they are suitable for your condition and foot type.

Off the shelf devices can also be obtained from the chemist, shoe shops and catalogues. These devices are often light, nondurable and rarely come with expert advice. They can however be an affordable or convenient option for those who are in short term need.

For an assessment of which orthotic is right for you, call Marie Whitfield Podiatry on 3847 4809.