There are many places and people that sell orthotics, but how do you know where to go when you decide to get orthotics?
Luckily there is a very easy checklist to follow to ensure you choose the best option. It is very important to use this checklist as a guideline as your money, and more importantly, your health is at risk. I say health because I have seen first hand injuries caused by wearing improper foot orthotics.
1) Who’s Authorized?
A. First you need to shorten your bench by eliminating a few players (send them to the minors). This can be easily accomplished by looking at their credentials. You should see one of these somewhere on the list: PEDORTHIST, Orthotist, Chiropodist. “These three are recognized as foot care specialists and are trained specifically to assess, design, manufacture and fit foot orthotics. The providers listed above are licensed and governed by either a provincial or national body, and are subject to standards of practice. This, along with each body’s Code of Ethics, helps ensure their accountability and your protection (Manulife Financial, Buying Custom-made orthotics, what you need to know).”
2) What to Expect?
A. Assessment: After booking your appointment you should be seen by the professional you have chosen for a full biomechanical assessment. This can take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, sometimes longer. This assessment should include a thorough medical history review (symptoms, previous injuries etc.), footwear examination, range of motion tests, muscle strength and weaknesses testing, static standing observations and dynamic gait assessment.
B. Treatment options: Your provider should educate you on treatments and how they will benefit you.
C. Custom 3D moulds: If you decide to get orthotics and the person does not take a 3D mould of your foot using either a foam box casting or plaster of paris slipper casting technique, you should walk out the door without looking back. “Having your footprint taken on an inkpad or using your shoe size to provide a prefabricated insole is not considered casting and does not qualify as custom-made (Manulife Financial, 2010).”
D. Manufacturing: Custom-made means that the product you are receiving is going to be made from scratch using raw materials directly from your mould. The time to get this accomplished can take anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks depending if the provider makes in-house orthotics or if they send your moulds away to an independent manufacturer. Having your orthotics made in-house has many advantages, these include: quick turn around time, ability to do adjustments while you wait, skilled technicians that see your foot and actually make the product themselves. You receive a higher quality of care.
i. Note: Some providers will give you a “best fit” footbed. These are still prefabricated inserts that are matched to your cast, however the cast is never used in the actual manufacturing of the orthotic. These are not considered custom-made and would not qualify as such. (Manulife, 2010)
E. Picking up your orthotics: Your orthotics should be sized and fitted to your footwear and your provider should ensure they are comfortable to walk in before letting you go out the door. Sometimes orthotics can take time to get used to so don’t be worried if you feel a little discomfort when you first wear your foot orthotics, that will go away as your foot adjusts. You should be offered a follow-up appointment to ensure that your orthotics are working and you are not experiencing any problems.
NEXT WEEKS BLOG – Be Cautious: 8 things to be aware of when buying an orthoticRead More