Saanichton Physical Therapy Blog

Foot Orthotics

Foot Orthotics

When standing and walking, we are subjected to forces that produce stress and strain throughout our bodies. When a foot imbalance is present there can be abnormal forces on the feet, knees, hips, back and/or neck that lead to pain and poor function. The foot imbalance must be corrected to improve body alignment and therefore, decrease pain and improve function.

What are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are devices which are inserted into footwear to support or correct your foot function.

When appropriately prescribed, custom orthotics can:

  • Decrease pain, not only in the foot, but in other parts of the body such as the knee, hip and lower back.
  • Increase stability in an unstable joint.
  • Prevent a deformed foot from developing additional problems.
  • Improve overall quality of life.

How are custom orthotics made?

While orthotics can be made by several different processes, we take a foam impression of the patient’s foot in a “neutral” position and send it to a laboratory with the physiotherapist’s direction for correction.

At the lab, technicians pour plaster into the mould and, when it hardens, it reproduces the bottom of the individual’s foot. The technicians then use the physiotherapist’s directions to custom-make a device to meet the patient’s specific needs.

Who Can Benefit From Orthotics?

  • those in need of relief of painful foot problems or an injury
  • people who must walk or stand excessively on the job
  • those who are active in sports: orthotics will often increase endurance, performance and strength
  • overweight individuals: orthotics can help to counteract the extra stress on the feet, as minor problems are often magnified due to the increased weight
  • older adults who may have developed arthritis in their feet: orthotics are particularly effective in relieving foot fatigue and discomfort
  • orthotics may also be prescribed for children who have a foot deformity

Types of Custom Orthotics

Different types of custom orthotics are available for different uses. There are a number of sport specific orthotics designed for use in running/walking shoes, ski boots, skates, golf shoes and court shoes. Sandals come with the orthotic built in a way to prevent slippage. Dress shoes generally don’t have much extra space and therefore come with a thinner orthotic. There are also orthotics designed for special health needs such as arthritis and diabetes. Talk to us about what type of custom orthotic would best suit your needs!