Many people are under the impression that you only need prescription orthotics if you have flat feet. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are many structural deformities and functional abnormalities that may be present in the feet or lower extremity that may require orthotics for correction and symptomatic relief.
For instance, failure of the rearfoot and forefoot to line up during development may lead to structural deformities referred to as forefoot and rearfoot varus as well as forefoot valgus. These deformities are subtle and require examination by a professional to determine whether or not they are present. These deformities can lead to overpronation (excessive rolling inwards of the rearfoot and/or hindfoot) which in turn can lead to shin splints, achilles tendonitis, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, back pain, bunions, etc.
Most people wait until they have a problem before having an examination to determine whether or not they need orthotics. It is more beneficial to determine that you have a problem and to correct that problem before symptoms develop.
There are many different ways to develop prescription orthotics. At Elgin Chiropractic/Orthotics we have the ability to use the three most research proven clinically effective techniques. We always use a 3D dynamic weight bearing computerized gait analysis tool. But will combine that data when necessary with a static neutral plaster cast of a patient or a semi-weight bearing neutral foam cast. There are many theories and arguments as to which technique is the best. The fact of the matter is that one technique may be better for some individuals while another technique may be more effective for other individuals.
There are some techniques that should be avoided and some things to look out for. A few examples would be submerging the foot in ink and having the patient walk across a piece of paper. If the orthotics are ready the same day you order them they are not custom made but merely an off the shelf product.
Traditionally, orthotics have been very bulky and it has been difficult to find a shoe to accommodate the orthotics. The orthotics we produce now are very slim and easy to use. Orthotics are made specific to certain activities such as playing soccer, tennis, golf, basketball or running. We can make them suitable for shock absorption for make them very slim to fit in a tight fitting dress shoe. Prescription sandals can also be fabricated and are a nice addition to your summer wardrobe. The options available are endless.
Another misconception people have is that orthotics can last up to 10 years or more. This is absolutely not true. A rigid orthotic may last forever but one’s feet change over time and prescriptions need to be renewed every two to three years in order to achieve maximum benefit from your orthotics. Very rarely is a rigid orthotic indicated as it is often the equivalent to walking on hard concrete all day long. Semi-rigid materials are preferable as they still allow for correction or control of gait abnormalities but absorb shock as well.