Important things you should know about Orthotics

Orthosis is an external device which is used to change the functioning capability of the skeletal and neuromuscular system. The application of orthosis is known as orthotics. The medical expert responsible for the prescription and management of orthosis is known as an orthotist. An orthosis is used for the following purposes:

  • Controlling and restricting movement of a certain part of the body
  • Allowing movement of a certain part of the body
  • To reduce weight from a particular joint or muscle
  • Easing the part of a body to adjust to its natural movement after a fracture
  • To reduce pain from a part of the body

International Standard Terminology classifies orthotics into different groups based on the part of the body they are used for. Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFO) is used for foot and ankle difficulties. Thoracolumbosacral Orthotics (TLSO) is used for spine difficulties.

A foot orthotics is a medical appliance that is custom made and fits into the shoes of an individual. These foot appliances can also be bought directly off the shelf but custom made orthoses are better and more efficient. It gives the individual’s feet a better posture and also helps in relieving pain from their feet. It focuses its attention on mid foot, hind foot and forefoot. They can be used by anyone and not only by senior citizens. It is highly customizable and comes in different shapes and sizes.

How does customized foot orthotics help people?

  • It helps the person in rectifying his abnormal walking pattern
  • Reduces pain from the feet
  • Helps in providing support
  • Prevents and also protects the feet of the person from certain foot deformities
  • Helps in correcting feet alignment
  • Often, certain part of the foot is exposed to high pressure. Foot orthoses help in reducing the extreme pressure from the foot
  • Improves the mechanics of the foot and lower extremities

Different Types of Foot Orthotics:

  • Foot Pads – One of the simplest devices are the footpads. They are placed below the foot or slipped inside the shoes. These occupy only a small portion of the footwear. These are often used to relieve the feet from pressure. Circle or Doughnut pads often known as callus or corn pads are quite popular footpads. They are convenient and easy to use.  

  • Shoe Inserts – These are also known as inlays, insoles, foot beds or arch support. These help in curing flat feet and foot arthritis problems. They are made of different types of materials, ranging from soft ones to firm ones. They are easily available in stores or can be customized. They take up large space in the shoes and thus make it uncomfortable for your foot in the beginning. The person should allow their feet to adjust to the new installment, which takes time.
  • Ankle Braces – These need to be worn before wearing shoes and are used to treat various foot problems like ankle arthritis, foot drop, and tendinitis. They are custom made because each brace depends on the severity of the foot problem.     

Orthotics help individuals most of the times. They benefit patients by relieving pressure and improving the walking pattern. These come in various types of patterns and thus the cost of each varies accordingly. Orthotics can range anywhere from approx. $10 to $800. Custom-made orthoses are a bit more on the expensive side, but they are better than the ones sold in the market. Insurance programmes do not cover the expenses for these medical devices even if the doctors prescribe them. Their expenses have to personally borne.

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Written by Emma Smith

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