Orthotics are man-made devices that are inserted into the shoe to reduce pressure on painful areas by providing additional support to a person’s feet. They can be as simple as over the counter shoe inserts or created specifically to fit a patient’s unique footprint, as designed by an experience of the medical provider. Prescription orthotics can be customized to adhere to a specific individual’s gait and posture. A qualified podiatrist can help facilitate the necessary examinations to ensure that the patient’s foot is adequately covered and maintained.
If a foot is mechanically unsound, a podiatrist implements a functional orthotic. These are designed to correct any dysfunction in the gait or posture of the food. A beneficial side effect is the reduction of pain related to foot injury. Since these devices are typically rigid, they are made from graphite or plastic.
When injury is related to the skin or structure of the foot, an accommodative orthotic is used. Since this device is softer than a functional orthotic, it is primarily used to reduce painful sores and skin issues such as bunions, calluses, and foot ulcers on the bottom of the feet. Additionally, orthotics can reduce other foot related issues such as bursitis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and other pain related to the foot or ankle.
Typically, a consumer gets what he or she pays for. Over the counter orthotics are significantly less costly than prescription orthotics but are meant as a one size fits all solution. While more expensive, custom orthotics are created to specifically fit a patient's foot and meet his or her needs, they are often much more effective in providing relief and support for the affected feet. Additionally, the sturdier construction allows for extended use and can sometimes last for several years. As a bonus, medical insurance companies typically cover some or all the cost of prescription orthotics.