Orthotics: Prefab or Custom-Made?
If you take a simple stroll down the foot product isle at your local drug store you will find an array of foot products and inserts. You will find inserts for cushion, for comfort, for support and for control. Many questions may cross your mind. What are the differences? Is the $15 insert better than the $7 insert? Are these orthotics? Will they help my foot pain? You may take the time to study the package details closely, but in most instances it doesn't really matter which pair you grab. Most of the inserts at the local drug store are essentially the same.
An insert slips into the shoe and will give you some comfort, cushion and a little support. In some cases, inserts purchased at the drugstore will help alleviate some arch or heel pain and give relief to sore, tired feet. But, an insert is not an orthotic. Orthotics are devices which fit into the shoe and aid in foot function. The most important difference is an orthotic controls abnormal motion and corrects foot function, while an insert will only provide cushion and comfort.
A prefabricated orthotic is a device that is pre-made and designed to fit the most common foot types. Typically, a prefabricated orthotic needs to be purchased at a sports store and they are more expensive than inserts, costing $25-$30. The prefab orthotic is more rigid than an insert and is designed not only to support the arch, but also to help control motion, which will decrease stress on the tendons and ligaments in the arch. Many individuals will do very well with a prefabricated orthotic. Prefab orthotics generally last for one or two years before replacement is necessary.
A functional custom made orthotic is a device that is even more rigid than a prefab orthotic. The custom made orthotic must be rigid to help control the motion in the foot and add support. If the orthotic is soft, the weight of the body would collapse the device and it would no longer function. A custom made orthotic is not only custom molded to your foot and arch, corrective wedges and covers are built into the device to help with motion control and to improve the mechanics of the foot. Individuals with flatfeet, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, certain foot deformities, knee, hip and back problems may benefit from custom made functional orthotics. The orthotic should make standing, walking, jogging or running more comfortable. Custom made functional orthotics will generally last 7-12 years before needing to be replaced, and can cost between $300-$600.
Functional orthotics are a successful treatment for many problems affecting the lower extremity. In a recent article in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 75% of patients surveyed had good to excellent results using functional orthotics to treat heel pain, arch pain, arthritis, bunions, pain from flatfeet or high arches, knee, hip and back pain. A recent article in USA Weekend magazine stated the opposite. The article referenced a study in Foot & Ankle International in which researchers followed 874 healthy, young Israeli army recruits without foot problems. The recruits were given soft custom, semi-rigid custom, soft prefab or semi-rigid prefab orthotics to wear in their boots during basic training. The researchers found no difference in the development of foot problems between the custom made orthotic group versus the prefab orthotic group. The conclusion from this study is that custom made orthotics will not help prevent foot problems from developing. What is important to understand is this study did not evaluate individuals with foot pain or foot problems. The population evaluated was a group of young, healthy, active individuals without any existing foot problems. Therefore, we cannot conclude from this study that prefab orthotics treat foot conditions better than custom-made orthotics.
Individuals with plantar fasciitis (heel and arch pain) who also have flatfeet usually respond best to custom-made orthotics. Certain types of tendonitis respond well to orthotics and other types require orthotics. Posterior tibial tendonitis is the tearing and inflammation of the tendon that helps to hold up the arch. When this tendon is overstressed by arch collapse it cannot heal. Custom made orthotics are essential in the treatment of this condition.
Individuals with high arches may also require orthotics, but they do not respond as well. Custom made orthotics can help slow the progression of bunions and hammertoes, but they will not prevent this process. Orthotics may help with some pain at a bunion, but they will not "cure" the bunion. When the motion in the foot is contributing to the problem, orthotics are generally recommended. If the foot is stable and does not require support, the bunion, hammertoe, neuroma, tendonitis or even plantar fasciitis may not require custom made orthotics for treatment. These individuals may do well with a pre-fabricated orthotic. If you do not have foot pain or an existing foot condition, a custom made orthotic is not necessary for prevention of foot problems.
A custom made accommodative orthotic is soft and designed to reduce pressure and prevent excess friction. Diabetics can develop numbness and loss of circulation in the feet. This numbness and circulation loss puts them at risk for developing open sores on the feet called ulcerations. To help prevent excess rub and friction in certain areas on the feet, accommodative orthotics are recommended. Diabetics who do not have numbness or circulation loss (as diagnosed by their doctor) do not need to have accommodative orthotics, unless the foot has a deformity, like a bunion or hammertoe, then accommodative orthotics are necessary.
Both types of custom-made orthotics are formed by taking a mold of the foot. A functional orthotic mold is fabricated by wrapping the foot in plaster. The foot is held in a corrected position while the plaster is setting. To obtain an accommodative orthotic mold, the patient steps into a foam box. An impression of the foot in a standing position is then created. The molds are sent to a lab and scanned into a computer. A reverse image is produced and the computer generates an image of the foot in neutral position. The computer adjusts the image based on the corrections recommended. A model of the foot is then cut out, in some cases out of wood. The orthotic material is pressed over the foot model and the orthotic is created. The most common material for a semi-rigid custom made orthotic is polypropylene, but other materials, such as graphite are used. A foam-like material is typically used for custom-made accommodative orthotics.
The bottom line is that if you have foot pain, a foot deformity or condition, let your podiatrist evaluate you and decide if orthotics should be part of the treatment. If your insurance will not cover the orthotics and you cannot afford custom made orthotics, consider trying prefabricated orthotics. If you are looking to help prevent foot problems or looking for some extra support, a prefab orthotics is a good option for you, especially if you are active in sports. If you are just looking for a little extra cushion and comfort, an insert at your local drug store will be your best bet.
Christine Dobrowolski is a podiatrist and the author of Those Aching Feet: Your Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Foot Problems. To learn more about Dr. Dobrowolski and her book visit http://www.skipublishing.com. For more information on prefabricated orthotics visit http://www.northcoastfootcare.com.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
University of Louisville takes its medicine and starts healing process | Tim Sullivan - The Courier-Journal
Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute to Host 2018 Thought Leaders Consortium in Tucson - PR Newswire (press release)
What Not to Tell Your Doctor?
For many years since medicine has been established as an ethical profession and gained widespread credence people have believed that they could and should tell their doctor everything even remotely pertinent to their health and that it was held in the strictest confidence. Furthermore, how can the physician make accurate judgments when important or significant information is missing? This system worked very well until relatively recently but there now exists a breach of this confidence that people should know about and this breach has developed from the advent of third party investigations into people's backgrounds.
Considerations in Distance Education for the Medical Assistant Instructor
Medical Assistant distance education is emerging to meet the demands of a new generation of students in the twenty first century. St.
Bextra and Vioxx -- Alternative Medications Have Warnings, Too
At the urging of the Food and Drug Administration, the drugs Vioxx and Bextra have both been voluntarily withdrawn from the market by their manufacturers. Studies show that these drugs, part of a family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) known as COX-2 inhibitors, may be linked to increased chances of heart attack or stroke.
The Importance Of Using Electric Wheelchairs To Improve Mobility
No person likes to feel housebound and dependent on others. While people who have been injured or suffering from a debilitating disease may not have full functionality of their motor skills, it is still possible for them to be semi-independent and mobile.
Facial Pain: When a Nerve Is a Live Wire
Of all the places in the body that can hurt, the face might seem the strangest. But for some people, that's exactly where the agony occurs, and the cause is a nerve gone haywire.
How To Locate An Alcohol Rehabilitation Center In California
Alcohol rehab in California refers to the centers that help people in California to get rid of the menace of alcoholism.Prevalence of alcoholism is increasing in California therefore more people are looking for Alcohol rehabilitation facilities in California.
Pagan Medicine: Then and Now
A time will come when our children's children will look back upon the age of "modern" medicine of the 21st century as paganistic witchcraft, foisted upon ignorant masses of people. May God rightly judge those who corrupted His ministry of healing and killed His children.
A Closer Look at Lower Back Pain Relief
As many as 8 out of 10 adults will experience back pain in their lifetime, and most of them will feel it in their lower back. When we consider that our lower back bears the brunt of our body weight, and that our back is made up of many vertebrae, a few discs to absorb shock, several major nerves and joints that allow for movement of the spine, stacked on top of each other, this statistic begins to make more sense.
5 Risks to Avoid When Purchasing Discount Medicines Online
With the increasing price of prescription medications, many consumers are finding it more difficult to afford the price of prescriptions. Due to this, a large number of such consumers are looking for alternate ways to find affordable medications.
Stop Taking Blood Pressure Medications with Your Doctors Approval
I have been swallowing three varieties of blood pressure pills for 10 years. In another month, I expect to be off of them entirely.
Understanding Tumescent Liposuction
Tumescent liposuction is done using a local aesthetic. A large volume of saline solution containing the aesthetic and a drug called "Epinephrine" is injected directly into the areas where there are excessive fatty deposits.
Fifteen Ways to Fight Heel Pain
There are many different causes of heel pain, but the most common cause is plantar fasciitis (plan * tar fash* ee * I * tis). If you experience a sharp pain in your heel when you first step down in the morning, it is most likely due to plantar fasciitis.
Resperate or RESPeRATE - this device controls blood pressure however you spell it!
Resperate is natural and powerful and it puts you in control of your blood pressure.Resperate is a new device and is revolutionising the nature of blood pressure treatment.
Over The Counter Drugs: How To Safely Choose The Right Medication
What Medication Can Cure Me?1. Am I expecting a cure? Some medications relieve symptoms - that is, they stop the itching, pain, redness, etc - but do not actually get to the source of the illness.
Cut Your Prescription Drug Costs Without Having to Buy Foreign Drugs
Save Up to 93% by Asking for a Generic - Use generics whenever they are available. Both brand name and generic drugs contain the same active ingredients, are the same in strength and dosage and meet the same government quality control standards.
Clinton on South Beach Diet
Clinton's recent quadruple bypass surgery has been largely debated. Being on the South Beach Diet made everybody wonder how the former president's illness advanced so much as to need to be surgically corrected.
Prevent Foot Problems When Walking
Americans are on the go. According to a NSGA Survey, 71 million American adults are exercise walkers, making walking the top sport in the United States.
Substance Abuse Attitude Testing by a Standardized Survey
This is a short overview of a questionnaire used for substance abuse attitude testing in testing a CREATE (Curriculum Renewal and Evaluation of Addiction Training and Education) effects on Medical Students. My afterthoughts on substance abuse attitude testing are in the end of the article.
Accutane Side Effects Lawyer: Hair Loss, Depression, Suicide
You probably know the drug isotretinoin by its trade name, accutane. Accutane is a powerful drug often used to treat acne.
Top Ten Things You Should Know About Contact Lenses
1. Soft lenses are perceived by most patients and practitioners alike to be more immediately comfortable while adequately correcting vision.
|home | site map | Dr. Thad Thomas|