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The Different Types of Foot Orthotics

Author: Craig Payne
by Craig Payne
Posted: Jun 03, 2022
foot orthotics

Foot orthotics are widely used to treat a wide range of different foot problems. The preponderance of the published scientific research shows that they are generally successful. However not all foot orthotics are created the same and all the different ones have different effects in different people and these differences can affect the outcomes. You an get foot orthotics support over the counter for yourself and it may or may not be what your foot needs. Alternatively, you could get quite a complicated custom-made foot orthotic design that is needed to meet the needs of your feet. The range of options available to clinicians for custom made foot orthotics is quite substantial. The problem is that if one of the wide range of options that are available does not help, does that mean that foot orthotics are not going to help your problem or does it mean the wrong foot orthotic was used. It is a difficult decision that clinicians have to make, and they will need to draw upon all of their experiences as well as the research evidence to make the right decision for each patient.

The choice that has to be made start with is a custom-made foot orthotic needed or can a simpler and cheaper prefabricated foot orthotic be adequate? If the patient’s problem is simple and straightforward, then a prefabricated one could be used quite successfully. If the problem is more complicated, then a custom-made device may be all that is needed. A skilled clinician can make adjustments and additions to the prefabricated foot orthotics to make them more specific to an individual patient. Sometimes, it is just too complex, and a plaster cast or digital scan has to be taken of the foot for a custom-made support to be made from.

When it comes to the decision-making process for a custom made foot orthotic, a clinical assessment needs to be done to determine a whole range of characteristics about the foot to determine the types of features that are going to need to be built into the custom-made foot orthotic. It not just a simple matter of working out how high the arch is and building that into the product. The range of motion of all the joints will be assessed. The alignment of all the different bones are going to be assessed. The walking gait is going to be assessed. Once all this information is gathered, a determination can be made. This could include not only the height of the arch but also wedging under the medial or lateral sides of the heel. The outside of the foot arch could be made higher (called a cuboid notch) or the area under a metatarsal head could be cut away. Even something as simple as that cuboid notch has quite a decision-making process behind it to arrive at a decision if it is needed or not and if need, how big it should be. Foot orthotics might look simple, but the decision making process behind them is quite complicated.

About the Author

Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.

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Author: Craig Payne
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Craig Payne

Member since: Aug 16, 2020
Published articles: 254

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