The custom orthotic journey – an overview
The custom foot orthotic journey is a multi-step process, beginning with a thorough assessment in your initial appointment and ending with a comfortable and effective orthotic in your shoes. At the initial appointment your podiatrist will gain an understanding of the nature of your pain, as well as the biomechanical and load-related factors contributing to your symptoms.
When a custom foot orthotic is recommended in your journey to being pain-free, then this process is completed over the next three appointments. In order to customise the orthotic to your individual feet, your podiatrist will perform a biomechanical assessment and 3D digital scan. Your orthotic is then designed, and sent off to a laboratory in Australia to be manufactured, which generally takes up to 10 days. In the next appointment, the orthotic is fitted. A follow-up appointment is then booked to see how you are going with the orthotics, as modifications may be required to perfect the device.
More on that later, for now, what are custom foot orthotics and how do they work?
What Are Custom Foot Orthotics?
Custom foot orthotics are prescription shoe inserts made from 3D impressions of your feet, used in the management of lower limb injuries and pain.
The goal of orthotic therapy is to alter biomechanics, referring to how your body functions, to reduce internal and external forces acting on the foot. Therefore, improving function, minimising pain and preventing re-injury. Orthotics are used to treat a variety of foot, ankle and leg conditions.
What Are The Different Types Of Custom Foot Orthotics?
Custom foot orthotics can be divided into functional and accommodative devices.
Functional devices are often used in the management of lower limb pain. They work by changing how the foot functions in order to offload sites of injury. These are the main type of orthotic used in a private practice setting.
Accommodative devices are generally used for individuals with impaired blood flow and/or sensation in their feet, commonly seen in diabetes mellitus. They work by evenly distributing pressure beneath the foot to reduce risk of wounds from forming.
Our custom foot orthotics are made from polyamide 11, known as nylon, which is a premium organic resource made from castor beans!
What Conditions Do Orthotics Help With?
Custom foot orthotics can be modified to accommodate for certain pathologies, and are therefore used in the management of a wide range of foot and ankle injuries, such as;
- Plantar heel pain
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Adult acquired flat foot deformity (tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction)
- Ankle sprains
- Lateral ankle instability
- Morton’s neuroma
- Hallux abducto valgus (bunions)
- Hallux limitus/rigidus (stiff big toe joint)
- Stress fractures
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Callus and corns
The Biomechanical Assessment
This process involves taking measurements of your feet to determine how they function and which aspects may be contributing to your symptoms. These results are then used in the prescription form to modify how your feet respond to internal and external forces.
The Digital Scan
As opposed to taking plaster casts of your feet, podiatrists at Pod Fit use 3D digital scanning. This gives us a digital cast of your feet, that is used in the orthotic prescription.
This process is fast, clean and does not require you to hold onto old clunky casts for future use, as it is saved electronically.
The Orthotic Fitting
The orthotic fitting appointment involves assessing the orthotic under your feet, cutting any excess material to fit inside of your shoes, as well as assessing how they feel and function within your shoes.
As the orthotic can take time to get used to, we often recommend a gradual wearing-in process. This begins with one hour on the first day, increasing by an hour daily until you are able to wear them full time. It is also advised to start off with low intensity use, such as walking, to progress into high intensity use, like running.
A common question that we’re asked is, how long will my orthotics last? This often depends on how the orthotic is used. For instance, those playing netball or football will wear out their device faster than someone using it for walking. As a rule of thumb, you can expect upwards of four years out of a pair of custom foot orthotics, however, the padding may need replacing in this time.
The Review Appointment
Our aim is for your custom foot orthotic to be as comfortable as possible. Sometimes, your device might not feel quite right. Rest assured, there are an abundance of modifications which can be made to perfect your orthotics.
Does Private Health Cover Custom Foot Orthotics?
The great news is that Private Health cover does cover foot orthotics. We usually see that an Australian private health fund will on average cover between $200- $400 of the orthotic cost.
For third party clients such as; Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), Work Cover (Return To Work SA), and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are fully covered by third party funding.
How to organise your custom foot orthotics?
To make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists you can book online here, or call the clinic on (08) 7226 9901. We look forward to helping you soon!