At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we often get questions from our Los Angeles County patients about custom orthotics. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about this very effective, non-invasive type of podiatric treatment.
Q: What conditions can orthotics help treat?
A: Orthotics are footwear inserts that are used to provide support and reduce pain, discomfort, pressure or imbalance, and other symptoms caused by a wide range of foot and ankle deformities, injuries, and diseases as well as biomechanical problems. Some common conditions that can be treated with orthotics include flat feet, heel pain, arthritis, bunions, calluses, corns, big toe pain, and neuropathic ulcerations.
Q: What’s the difference between over-the-counter shoe inserts and custom orthotics?
A: Over-the-counter inserts can provide some arch support and treat minor discomfort and pain. Prescription orthotics, however, are made from a mold of your unique foot and therefore better able to address and correct your specific foot issues. Prescription orthotics are also constructed of more durable materials and can last a long time.
Q: What are some common kinds of prescription orthotics?
A: Orthotics come in many shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials depending on individual needs. They may take the form of insoles, arch supports, heel pads, or foot cushions. Generally, there are two classifications of orthotics. Accommodative orthotics offer cushioning and reduce pressure on a vulnerable area of the foot. Functional orthotics are used to treat foot problems caused by foot and ankle motion and alignment.
Q: How are custom orthotics made?
A: The first step is to have our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas, conduct a thorough examination of your feet and ankles and evaluate how they are impacting your knees, legs, and lower back. Once the foot doctor has a diagnosis of your podiatric disorder and a complete understanding of the biomechanics of your foot, a mold of your foot will be made from a plaster cast or a specialized computer scan that maps your foot structure and your gait. The podiatrist will then check to make sure the orthotic is fitted properly and monitor your progress.