Real Custom Foot Orthotics
True prescription custom foot orthotics can only be obtained from a healthcare professional trained in the anatomy, function and dysfunction of the human foot. There are retail outlets that claim to provide custom foot orthotics but actually provide prefabricated inserts.
There is a role for prefabricated inserts or arch supports: people who have foot discomfort and require some additonal support for sports or work but painful feet or significant foot problems requires a prescription custom orthotic device.
Podiatrists are specialists who are trained exclusively in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle disorders and have years of training in biomechanics of the foot and leg with courses in orthotic design and fabrication.
Prescription custom foot orthotic fabrication is an exacting process that involves several steps:
1) A thorough exam that reveals the reasons for foot pain.
2) A prescription based on that exam which provides the formula to modify foot function for the patient's benefit.
3) A mold made of the foot/feet. That mold or casting is made by the podiatric physician such that the corrected position of the foot is captured. The casting must capture the foot in a position determined by the practitioner so it cannot be performed by having a patient standing.
4) An accredited professional orthotic laboratory utilizes the molds/casts plus the prescription to create a model of the foot. That model incorporates the prescribed changes.
5) The lab uses the corrected model to create a prescription orthotic designed to treat the individual patient's pathology.
6) The lab returns the prescription device to the practitioner who fits the orthotics to the patient.
7) The doctor then evaluates the changes in gait and function after several weeks and makes modifications to the prescription orthotic devices as necessary to achieve optimal results.
Remember, if you have not gone through this process, you do not have a true prescription foot orthotic.