If you have been experiencing chronic pain due to a complication with your feet, like osteoarthritis or your feet have been injured in the past, you may find a solution in custom orthotics. These are specially made shoe insoles that are designed to put your feet and ankles in the right alignment again allowing you to move around with ease and comfort.
To be more specific, custom orthotics are a type of biomechanical device whose design mimics that of shoe insoles. Since orthotics work on the positioning and alignment of the feet and ankles, they fall under biomechanics which is the study of the human body along with the forces our structure exerts and is affected by (gravity). When our feet become misaligned, the result is a feeling of discomfort. With custom orthotics, this discomfort is eased as the foot insole reduces the strain. Custom orthotics also gradually put the feet back into proper alignment. This is done by diverting and reducing the movements as the foot touches the ground allowing the body to move.
Since custom orthotics are specially tailored for the wearer, they can be quite efficient with the design allowing for better treatment of the wearer’s particular problem. When it comes to having custom orthotics made, there are three options available:
- Functional orthotics – Created to align feet into a better position, functional orthotics help the body in bearing its entire weight. This makes it less harmful to move around (for people who have foot complications). This kind of orthotics are created using materials that have some rigidity to them.
- Accommodative orthotics – Designed to alleviate stress, accommodative orthotic insoles are made for people who suffer from arthritis. The orthotic works by relieving the pressure on the joints making the foot hard to move. Accommodative orthotics are made from materials that have some flexibility to them.
- Therapeutic orthotics – Made to give support to the wearer’s heel and arch and provide stability in movement, therapeutic custom orthotics are made for people who have feet that are abnormal in shape.
Custom orthotics are specially made and tailored to the exact shape of the wearer’s feet making them feel much more comfortable and work much better compared top generic orthotics. Let’s take a look at how custom orthotics are made:
- Casting – First, the wearer’s feet are casted. During the process, a specialist will take a look at the person’s feet and make a diagnosis. During examination, dimensions of the feet are taken as well as the foot. The specialist will also ask about the person’s lifestyle to tailor the orthotic better. A cast is made by wrapping wet strips of plaster around the person’s feet and once set, will be sent to manufacturing.
- Manufacturing – The cast arrives along with specifications regarding the dimensions and materials that should be used and accessories to be added to create the custom orthotics at the lab. Here, the cast undergoes a process of being pressed against graphite or plastic under high temperature. After, this is covered with a material that is attached to the arch area and the heel area.
- Materials – The custom orthotics are then fitted with materials like graphite or polypropylene. These materials give the device a strong rigid body will also making it flexible. Cushioning is also added to make the insole comfortable and then it is sent back for the person to pick up.