Orthotics are not the same as shoe inserts. Inserts can often provide some cushioning and support but won’t correct the long-term problems that are causing you pain. Correctly-measured, custom-fabricated orthotics are medical devices that control your foot’s functioning and alignment.
What Can Orthotics Treat?
Orthotics can be used to treat many conditions caused by abnormal motion in your foot and even in other joints. Genetic and environmental factors can cause bone or tissue throughout your body to move too much or too little, or to strengthen or weaken. Intensive activities like sports, military training, or simply long days on your feet, can turn minor differences in functionality into painful problems.
Among other things, orthotics can help people suffering from Plantar fasciitis (Dorban), tendonitis, Morton’s neuroma, bunions, shin splints, and all sorts of pains in the hips, knees, feet, and back
How Do Orthotics Work?
When used correctly, orthotics help to adjust the function and structure of your leg’s bones and muscles by redistributing impact as you walk, run, cycle, and stand. They do this by spreading pressure out correctly and by guiding or restricting motion in different parts of the foot. This positions your foot so that it uses the right muscles for different types of movement.
Stronger muscles used more efficiently will help to minimize fatigue, increase range of motion, and reduce pain.
Why Should I Go To An Expert?
There is currently no full podiatric program in Israel. Therefore, most of the orthotics available are made by professionals with no medical degree. They use the sponge box method of casting, which captures the foot in the incorrect position. That means the starting position of the orthotic insert will be incorrect. The plaster cast method involves creating a plaster mold directly on the foot itself. The plaster cast holds the foot in a correct neutral position for optimal efficiency and functionality.
Plaster cast molding, full-body biomechanical assessment, and the orthotics manufacturing itself all require intensive specialized training. The difference between most widely-available orthotics and those fabricated by a highly-trained expert can easily be the difference between further injury and a complete return to action.
Get in touch to set up a consultation and to discuss how orthotics can help you put your best foot forward.
How Are Orthotics Made?
Video Gait Analysis
In the clinic, the patient will be recorded walking, as well as running, on a treadmill. This enables me to build a full picture of the issues effecting the patient. Their strength, flexibility, and positioning are then analyzed using specialized software that examines the gait cycle from beginning to end.
Full Body Biomechanical Assessment
This includes a series of simple tests meant to give a better understanding of how the patient’s entire body is functioning. By examining how you move in different ways, the podiatrist can start to see how different parts of your body could be affecting other parts. For example, problems in the foot can travel upward, influencing posture and revealing themselves in the hips and even farther up the back.
Plaster casts in correct neutral positions
Using plaster casts, the podiatrist can create a mold of the foot in the correct neutral position. This method requires a high level of training and expertise but, when done right, yields the best results. The sponge box method commonly used in Israel allows the foot to rest in the same position that is causing the problems in the first place. The resulting orthotics may make the foot more comfortable in the short term but won’t help the underlying problem.
Semi-rigid thermoplastic materials
Specialized materials are used in high-quality medical orthotics. Shoe inserts use soft materials that providing cushioning but don’t correct the foot’s positioning. Treatment orthotics, however, use a range of firm or flexible materials. These usually require a longer adjustment period but are significantly more effective. For example, I specially import high-quality semi-rigid thermoplastic material that is highly durable. The orthotics that are made of this material can last for more than ten years and retain their shape reliably so that they continue positioning the foot correctly to treat the underlying problem.