What are custom orthotics?
Our feet are put to the test every day. They do a lot for us, and sometimes they need some extra help. Orthotics are inserts that fit into shoes and provide support by aligning the feet into a suitable position, decreasing the risk of pain, reduced mobility, and alignment issues in other areas of the body.
There are different types of orthotics to cater for various needs and preferences. This includes custom orthotics that are prescribed and fitted for an individual’s specific requirements. There are also non-custom orthotics, often referred to as over-the-counter orthotics, which have standardised fittings. Both options are suitable for adults and children.
What are individually prescribed custom orthotics?
Custom-made foot orthotics, also known as custom orthotics, are individually prescribed medical devices made from a non-weight-bearing scan or cast of your feet.
Custom orthotics are designed to be worn in place of the innersole inside your shoes. They work to improve the postural alignment and function of your feet in order to prevent or treat injuries caused by abnormal foot motion, such as pronation (rolling in) and supination (rolling out). They can also be used to balance the weight-bearing pressures beneath the foot and to make activities such as walking and running more efficient.
When are custom orthotics recommended?
Custom orthotics are usually prescribed by a podiatrist when abnormal foot posture is contributing to back, hip, knee, leg, ankle, or foot pain. They have many medical applications, which can include:
- Reducing the long-term effects of trauma injuries, such as sprains and fractures.
- Relieving pain caused by overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles' tendinopathy, peroneal tendonitis, shin splints, patellofemoral syndrome, and posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.
- Preventing or managing foot ulcers in people with diabetes.
- Relieving foot fatigue in people with arthritis.
- Preventing or halting the development of foot deformities, such as bunions and hammertoe.
- Preventing or treating problems in children, such as flat feet, intoed gait, growth plate inflammation, Sever’s disease, and Osgood-Schlatter disease.
- Reducing injury occurrence and increasing performance in people active in sports.
What are Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics?
The Orthema CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture) foot orthotic fabrication system is a revolutionary Swiss design introduced to Foot Health Clinic in 2013.
It enables our podiatrists to prescribe, design, and manufacture your orthotics on-site, in person, and without the delays caused by having to transfer your prescription to an external laboratory.
How are Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics made?
Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics begin with a thorough physical examination by your podiatrist, including a complete biomechanical examination comprising a:
- Foot posture assessment.
- Visual gait analysis.
- Footwear assessment.
Your podiatrist then uses the Orthema computer-aided digitiser to scan the exact contours of your feet in their corrected standing position, which is determined during your physical examination. They will enter any additional information into the Orthema system and electronically transfers your scans to a computer-aided milling machine to carve your personalised orthotics.
The material for your orthotics is selected by your podiatrist from 19 different milling blocks comprising different densities and density combinations of EVA rubber or cork.
Once you are fitted with your orthotics, your podiatrist stores your scans and prescription in the Orthema system, enabling you to order additional orthotics to the same prescription at a reduced cost.
What are the advantages of Orthema CAD/CAM Custom Made Foot Orthotics?
The Orthema CAD/CAM system offers several advantages over conventional prescription orthotics, including:
- No messy, uncomfortable plaster casts – your feet are scanned entirely digitally.
- Precise scans of your feet in their corrected positions – the 512 sensors on the Orthema computer-aided digitiser are measured to an accuracy of 0.1mm.
- No risk of damage to your casts during transit to an external laboratory.
- A range of different orthotic blocks, enabling your podiatrist to select the most comfortable density or density combination for you.
- A rapid turnaround on your orthotics – Orthema CAD/CAM prescription orthotics can be ready in as little as a day.
- Onsite digital storage of your scans and prescription.
Are Orthema CAD/CAM Custom-Made Foot Orthotics comfortable?
Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics are very comfortable – in fact, once you have completed the initial wearing-in process, you should barely be aware that you are wearing them.
One of the most important parts of orthotic therapy is appropriate follow-up. If you have concerns with factors such as orthotic fit, function, comfort, or shoe fit, your podiatrist will be able to troubleshoot the problem and address any issues.
What should I do if I need prescription orthotics?
Our podiatrists in Brisbane Northside have a combined 30 years of experience in identifying and correcting orthotic problems. With the introduction of the Orthema CAD/CAM system, we now have complete control of the prescription, design, and manufacturing of your orthotics, which helps us ensure your orthotics are providing the best biomechanical support and comfort for your feet.
If you feel you could benefit from Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics, please contact us to organise a thorough assessment. You can also learn more about Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics at the Orthema website.
Are Orthema CAD/CAM custom-made foot orthotics claimable on my private health insurance?
Many private health funds contribute to the cost of custom orthotics as part of extras cover. Contact your private health fund to see if you are covered for prescription orthotics. Foot Health Clinic offers HICAPS on-the-spot electronic rebate for your convenience if you are eligible.
Supportive Non-Custom Orthotics
Non-custom foot orthotics, also known as prefabricated orthotics, over-the-counter orthotics, inner soles, or insoles, are generic orthotics that are often found in pharmacies and sports and adventure stores.
Like custom orthotics, this type of orthotic supports the arch of the foot and helps to spread the weight more evenly along the sole so that your foot is in the correct position for walking, running, and standing.
Non-custom orthotics are not created by a podiatrist with your specific requirements and measurements in mind. Instead, they offer a cheaper version that provides generalised support.
How non-custom orthotics differ from custom-made orthotics
While they can provide additional support, it is important to remember that non-custom orthotics are:
- Not designed to conform to your individual foot.
- Not designed to correct your individual problems with foot alignment.
How do I know which non-custom orthotics to buy?
Foot Health Clinic recommends and sells SUPERfeet, a range of high-quality insoles suitable for adults, children, and for a wide range of foot types. Our staff are trained footwear prescribers who can help you to select the right SUPERfeet insoles for your purpose.
Learn more about SUPERfeet at the SUPERfeet website.
Orthotics for children
Orthotics can often be beneficial for children as their feet grow and develop because they can positively alter the position of their feet, aligning them with their ankles, legs, and hips and creating a more supported form.
At Foot Health Clinic, we offer our young patients several forms of orthotic therapy, including:
In regard to non-custom orthotics for children, while they can provide additional support, it is important to remember that they are:
- Not made from a 3-D scan or cast of your child’s feet so are not designed to conform to your child’s individual foot shape.
- Not designed to correct your child’s individual problems with foot alignment or posture.
- Preferably used only for minor foot posture abnormalities or for children who require only temporary foot posture support.
What are orthotics used for in children?
We recommend and prescribe orthotics for children for many reasons, which can include:
Childhood foot conditions
This can include preventing or treating problems such as flat feet, intoed gait, growth plate inflammation, Sever’s disease, and Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Foot development issues
Orthotics can help to prevent or halt the development of foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.
Using orthotics can help to relieve foot fatigue in children with juvenile arthritis.
Orthotics can help to prevent injuries and increase performance when playing sports can.
When orthotics are used after traumatic injuries, such as sprains and fractures, they can help to reduce long-term effects.
When worn correctly, orthotics can benefit not only your child’s feet but also their ankles, lower legs, knees, hips, and lower back. If you feel your child could benefit from orthotics, please contact us, and we will provide a full assessment and discuss the best options for them.
Orthotic support at the Foot Health Clinic
Orthotics, whether they are customised or non-customised, can be beneficial for adults and children in improving and preventing a variety of issues. If you or your child are suffering from foot concerns or are looking to reduce the risk of problems occurring, please contact us to organise a thorough assessment and discussion regarding which option is best for you.