San Antonio

custom foot orthotics
True custom foot orthotics

Real Custom Foot Orthotics

True prescription custom foot orthotics can only be obtained from a healthcare professional trained in the anatomy, function and dysfunction of the human foot.  There are retail outlets that claim to provide custom foot orthotics but actually provide prefabricated inserts.


There is a role for prefabricated inserts or arch supports: people who have foot discomfort and require some additonal support for sports or work but painful feet or significant foot problems requires a prescription custom orthotic device.


Podiatrists are specialists who are trained exclusively in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle disorders and have years of training in biomechanics of the foot and leg with courses in orthotic design and fabrication.


Prescription custom foot orthotic fabrication is an exacting process that involves several steps:

1)  A thorough exam that reveals the reasons for foot pain.

2)  A prescription based on that exam which provides the formula to modify foot function for the patient's benefit.

3)  A mold made of the foot/feet.  That mold or casting is made by the podiatric physician such that the corrected position of the foot is captured.  The casting must capture the foot in a position determined by the practitioner so it cannot be performed by having a patient standing.

4)  An accredited professional orthotic laboratory utilizes the molds/casts plus the prescription to create a model of the foot.  That model incorporates the prescribed changes.

5)  The lab uses the corrected model to create a prescription orthotic designed to treat the individual patient's pathology.

6)  The lab returns the prescription device to the practitioner who fits the orthotics to the patient.

7)  The doctor then evaluates the changes in gait and function after several weeks and makes modifications to the prescription orthotic devices as necessary to achieve optimal results.


Remember, if you have not gone through this process, you do not have a true prescription foot orthotic.

The term "foot orthotic" is used to describe almost any type of insert placed inside of a shoe. There are three general types:


1) Prefabricated "orthotics":  These are mass produced inserts made to the "average" foot shape and work primarily as arch supports.  Prefabricated devices are available at retail outlets and occasionally from healthcare professionals.  They can help with mild foot ailments or those with need of modest support.  There are numerous brands and types available.  Such devices need be fairly flexible in order to be comfortable as they may not fit the contours of everyone's feet well and need to be "forgiving."  Prefabricated orthotics sell for prices ranging from a few dollars to as much as $50 although are occasionally sold as "custom' at higher prices.


2) Customized orthotics.   These are prefabricated orthotics that are modified, often by a health professional to better fit the contours of the feet or achieve better supporst where it is needed.


3) Custom foot orthotics.  This term is generally reserved for true foot orthotics which are prescribed by health professionals and individually made to the contours of the patient's feet.  It takes about 2 to 3 weeks to make and receive such devices.  Custom foot orthotics can be designed to include numerous functions such as preventing ankles from rolling out (spraining), correcting certain foot deformities such as intoeing. relieving stress and strain from ligaments such as the plantar fascia, removing excess pressure from the ball of the foot and even supporting the arch.  Each prescription is unique and based on the needs of the patient.

Foot orthotic casting
Orthotic casting

Some conditions treated with prescription custom foot orthotics include:

1) Heel pain

2) Arch pain

3) Bunions

4) Metatarsagia or pain in the ball of the foot

5) Achilles tendinitis

6) Flat feet

7) Intoeing in children

8) Unstable or weak ankles

9) Shin splints

10) Athletic injuries

There are many foot types and shapes and many functional issues that can only be addressed via a complete examination and custom foot orthotics when necessary.
orthotic casts
Foot orthotic casts - so many different foot types
foot orthotics san antonio
Lab corrections to casts
Common material used to make prescription foot orthotics include plastics such as polypropylene or carbon-graphite.  Carbon graphite is much lighter and thinner than plastic.  Another advantage of carbon-graphite is "energy return." Carbon-graphite is spring like so that runners feel like they are being provided forward thrust by the orthtotic.  One need not be a runner to appreciate that.  It is generally possible to add more padding to carbon-graphite orthotics because the orthotic itself is thinner, requiring less shoe room.

carbon graphite custom orthotic
Carbon graphite custom orthotic