Foot problems can often be treated with custom functional orthoses. An orthotic is an insert that a person wears in shoes to provide support during the weight-bearing portion of gait (walking). Many people are unfamiliar with the difference between a custom device and a shoe insert purchased over-the-counter.
An over-the-counter orthosis is any shoe insert designed to fit in a shoe to provide cushion or support with the intention of providing relief to common foot problems. A custom functional orthosis can only be prescribed by a licensed practitioner, and is designed to match a patient’s foot type, incorporating additional prescribed changes to treat a condition. An important note: not all custom functional orthoses are created equal. Casting or scanning for the orthotics may be performed in a weight-bearing position (standing), semi weight-bearing position, or completely non-weight-bearing. An orthotic that is either prefabricated or not taken in neutral position (non-weight-bearing) could be referred to as a 50% orthosis. It will provide some improvement or relief just by the nature of having added support to the shoe. However, a 100% orthosis requires a desirable casting or scanning position: the subtalar joint is held in neutral position with the midtarsal joint being fully pronated. This can be obtained using techniques originally described by Dr. Merton L. Root, DPM. It is referred to as neutral suspension casting. This technique takes skill and training.
For the diabetic population and some other foot types, an accommodative orthotic (taken in a partial weight-bearing position) is acceptable. These devices can be used to offload painful areas, ulcerations, or provide comfort and protection to foot types prone to injury secondary to systemic illness.
When casting for orthotics, our doctors address the individual foot type through their knowledge of biomechanics. Evaluating a foot from a mechanical standpoint allows them to prescribe true custom functional orthoses. Also, all feet are not alike and may require special modifications.
Podiatrists are the most qualified healthcare professionals to evaluate a patient’s foot type and prescribe orthotics.
Biomechanics is the study of how bones in the feet interact with each other; including the joints, tendons and ligaments. Functional orthoses not only address the feet, but also many problems the patient may have with his or her knees, hips, back, and neck. This is because the orthoses provide balancing of the body and control of ground reactive forces.
Our doctors provide professional care and treatment for biomechanical abnormalities. Dr. Huff and Dr. Burgon have each developed a firm understanding of biomechanics, sports medicine, and orthotic therapy.