Orthotics are biomechanical devices that help control the foot, ankle, knee, hip and back function during activity (standing, walking, running, and jumping etc.). Not everyone needs orthotics. Orthotics are used as an aid to help relieve pain or problems associated with abnormal biomechanics. The most common use of orthotics is for Plantar Fasciitis-Heel Spur Syndrome. Orthotics come in different shapes, sizes, and material depending on the problem the orthotic is designed to help and the persons's foot type. Prescription orthotics are made from a mold or computerized scan of your feet. They are made only for you (just like glasses or contact lenses for your eyes). After the mold or scan is taken, it takes about 2-3 weeks to receive the finished orthotic. Getting use to the orthotic takes about 1-2 weeks. First you break in the orthotic one hour additive each day (wear 1 hour the first day, 2 hours the second day, 3 hours the third day, 4 hours the fourth day, 5 hours the fifth day, 6 hours the sixth day and after that you can wear them all the time). The second week your feet will continue to get use to the orthotic. Between 1-3 months you should notice a significant difference. Also, affter injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, or surgery of the lower extremity you might benefit from prescription orthotics. Also prescription orthotics may help slow down the progression of problems such as bunions, hammer toes and recurrent corns and callus.

Other kinds of effective orthotics consist of prefabricated off the shelf orthotics or inserts. Sometimes this is all you need to help with minor biomechanical problems.

Ask your foot and ankle specialist what device is best for you.

Shoes come in all different shapes and sizes, just like the feet that they are made to fit.


Shoeology 101 (June 19, 2005) What you need to know before getting a new pair of sneakers.