Orthotics are specially designed devices that are worn inside the shoe to control abnormal foot function and/or accommodate painful areas of the foot. Properly designed foot orthotics may compensate for imparited foot function, by controlling abnormal motion across the joints of the foot. This may result in dramatic improvement in the foot symptoms. Podiatrists prescribe and construct foot orthotics.
Functional foot orthotics are usually made from rigid materials, especially plastics and carbon-fiber composites. They are constructed upon a plaster impression of the feet, and modified based on the podiatrist’s evaluation of your problem. They are normally quite comfortable, and do not feel hard or uncomfortable in the shoe.
Rigid orthotics normally last for years, additions such as top covers and extensions may require periodic replacement. Some patients, for example the elderly, may not tolerate rigid functional orthotics. Under these circumstances the podiatrist will prescribe an orthotic made from softer materials with special accommodations for painful areas. Many different materials can be utilized, such as rubber, cork, leather, and soft synthetic plastics. The podiatrist is in the unique position of being able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat your foot or leg problems. If orthotics are indicated, he or she can utilize the most advanced methods of construction.