Many factors are taken into consideration when determining the need for custom orthotics. Aside from the patient’s history, Drs. Roundy and Clark assess the wear patterns present on well-worn shoes and the feet are inspected for signs of dysfunction, such as restricted joint motion, caluses, bunions, etc. If there are indictions for foot/ankle dysfunction, then a computerized gait scan will be performed to assess the movement patterns of the foot while in motion; essentially the patient will walk across a digital pressure plate and the computer will measure how the foot moves during a normal stride. 300 times per second, the center-of-gravity of each foot will be assessed for movement patterns and force loads at specific anatomical landmarks . . . truly state-of-the-art!
A custom orthotic is a device designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. They look like insoles, but are biomechanical appliances that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance. Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes – they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. The plastic body of the custom orthotic helps to re-align the foot by redirecting and reducing certain motion that takes place during the gait cycle. Custom orthotics fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole – and they have the advantage of having been made from precise imprints of your feet.
Custom orthotics can be used on anyone with foot dysfunction. The symptoms of poor foot mechanics can include any one of the following:
- Localized foot pain
- Hammer toes
- Arch/heel pain
- Leg/knee pain
- Hip, back and even neck pain!
Drs. Roundy and Clark can have custom orthotics made to help correct your specific foot and body imbalance. You can help your doctor by discussing any nagging foot, leg, or back problems, and even by simply asking if your feet could be part of the problem.
The longer you wear your custom orthotics the more benefit you will get out of them. If your daily activities vary to the extent that you change your footwear, then you should have a second pair of custom orthotics designed for that specific activity. (I.e. going to the gym after work)
Since the custom orthotic works to realign the structure of your foot, you may feel pressure in some areas as the custom orthotic attempts to do its job. For this reason, custom orthotics should be worn in two hour intervals and slowly extend the wear time over a period of two weeks.
For the most part, any shoe that has a removable insole will work with your custom orthotic. Just remove the insole that came with the shoe and replace it with the custom orthotic.
Custom orthotics will not reduce muscles tone. They will help position your foot so you will be using the right muscles at the right time, minimizing fatigue and allowing your muscles to be used more efficiently.