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Doctor insights on: Orthotics

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Dr. Libby Putnam
335 Doctors shared insights

Orthotics (Overview)

A orthotic is a small piece of medical equipment that braces a bone and/or joint, to keep it in a better position, either at rest, during activities, or both. Examples of orthotics are plastic ankle braces to aid recovery from an ankle sprain, arched insoles to support flat feet, ankle-foot braces to help kids with cerebral palsy walk better, etc...


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What is orthotics?

What is orthotics?

Fabricated supports: Custom made foot supports are fabricated to models of your feet, and incorporate corrections for abnormalities in the foot structure and/or function. See a podiatrist or orthotist for these devices.

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Dr. Libby Putnam
335 Doctors shared insights

Orthotics (Overview)

A orthotic is a small piece of medical equipment that braces a bone and/or joint, to keep it in a better position, either at rest, during activities, or both. Examples of orthotics are plastic ankle braces to aid recovery from an ankle sprain, arched insoles to support flat feet, ankle-foot braces to help kids with cerebral palsy walk better, etc...


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Who makes orthotics?

Who makes orthotics?

Specialized labs.: While a number of different types of medical professionals prescribe orthotics, and take foot impressions, most are probably made at independent labs and sent back to the prescribing professional for dispensing to the patient. I would guess that very few professionals personally make the orthotics on site.

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How to have orthotics made?

How to have orthotics made?

Podiatrist.: See a podiatrist. You should have a custom molded plaster of paris cast applied while you are sitting or laying supine, not standing.

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How effective are orthotics?

Very Effective: Most of my patient do well with orthotics. We can treat a variety of foot and gait problems effectivly with orthotics.

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What type of orthotics are helpful?

Custom orthotics: Custom orthotics ususlly work best. A podiatrist can do a exam and determine you prescription and what type of custom orthotics would best fit your needs.

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New to orthotics - what should I know?

Depends: First, we don't know whether you actually need orthotic devices or not, . In my experience, many people who are prescribed orthoses either don't need them, or are prescribed the wrong ones. Assuming you do need them, it is best to wean into them slowly, as it can take a while to get acclimated. If they continue to hurt you need to get them adjusted, or get a second opinion.

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Is it normal for new orthotics to hurt?

Yes: It takes time to properly "break in" your body to the orthotic. You typically want to wear the orthotic a short period of time each day, while gradually increasing the amount of time and activity.

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Can orthotics be worn while exercising?

Orthotics & Exercise: Designing custom orthotic devices for exercise is crucial for so many athletes. There are certain precautions to have, but all sports medicine podiatrists understand these. Dr Rich Blake

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When do people benefit from orthotics?

When do people benefit from orthotics?

Instability: People with unstable foot mechanics will benefit from custom foot orthotics. This may be a flat foot or one with a high arch. An orthotic provides stability and efficiency to the lower extremity.

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I am just wondering how orthotics really work?

I am just wondering how orthotics really work?

Try to help: Orthotics are merely a brace, therefore, they will only correct while you wear them. The question is then : what do they do when you don’t wear them? The answer is; they are only effective when they are in ones shoes. They correct (if applied with the proper understanding of their function and the way they were made if custom) gait (the way you walk) and improve body symmetry at the ground level.

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Should orthotics be changed as you get older?

Probably: Our feet do change as we get older. Most orthotic people recommend checking fit every 2-4 years

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What can I do to clean my custom soft orthotics?

See below: Usually a damp sponge with a mild soap. When in doubt call your doctor.

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How many people wear custom made vs scholls orthotics?

A few: Some people have tried over-the-counter arch supports, and may find they meet their needs and not want more. Others have tried a few types and they might not have helped. Like no one eyeglass prescription fits all, neither do arch supports. See a podiatrist to see what's best for your need.

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How much does it typically cost for custom orthotics?

Big Bucks..: It depends on the material and design. Figure 300.00- 500.00. Some may be slightly under and some over.

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Are bad orthotics worse for your health than no orthotics at all?

Probably: Orthotics that are made with fairly hard material are very "controlling". If they tip your feet in the wrong direction, usually rolling inward, it can cause a lot of ankle, knee and foot pain. Soft, over the counter types of orthotics are of no help in my opinion. See a podiatrist for a good evaluation with some old shoes and your orthotics.

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How effective are store bought orthotics like spenco in replacing insoles?

How effective are store bought orthotics like spenco in replacing insoles?

They CAN be great!: Keep in mind that they are an over-the-counter product, but they can be very good for your feet. Their thinthotic can be heat molded to give more (or less) arch that it come in the package. Their newer line of polysorb total support has really surprised me in how beneficial it can be. They have a large number of products and I have found them to be all some patients need. Good replacement insoles!

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How long do cork with AVA custom made orthotics last? Any tips to make them last longer?

6 months w/daily use: With daily use, 6 months is the expected lifespan. This is why most insurance companies allow 4 pair/year. It's going to sound flippant, but losing weight will make them last longer. Less compression on the cork, less stress on the insoles themselves.

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I should have added that aside from the orthotics made specifically for me, what are the best orthotics on the market.

A host of reasons...: I cannot tell you the number of times that patients have come into the office with a bag full of orthotics, both custom and pre-fabricated. These patients were all told that the orthotics were just what they needed but proved to be unwearable for a whole host of various reasons. I tell you this because finding the best is not always as easy as it seems.

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