Most of the following information was derived from the American Podiatric Medical Association.
What are Prescription Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are specially-made devices designed to support and comfort your feet. Prescription orthotics are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Orthotics are only manufactured after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, so the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.
Prescription orthotics are divided into two categories:
- Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion. They may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion; they can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis. Functional orthotics are usually crafted of a semi-rigid material such as plastic or graphite. (Usually NOT covered by most insurances).
- Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other uncomfortable conditions. (Usually covered by most insurances).
The way to evaluate custom othrotics as a corrective device is as such: Examples
Rx for Eyes = Rx eyewear to get you back to 20/20
Rx Dental Braces = Straighten Teeth
Rx Foot Orthotics = Both R and L legs and feet are in neutral position to equal each other. This addresses skeletal differences which causes extensive soft tissue problems as well.
Podiatrists use orthotics to treat foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and foot, ankle, and heel pain. Clinical research studies have shown that podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function.
Orthotics typically cost more than shoe inserts purchased in a retail store, but the additional cost is usually well worth it. Unlike shoe inserts, orthotics are molded to fit each individual foot, so you can be sure that your orthotics fit and do what they’re supposed to do. Biomechanical issues such as leg discrepancies can also be addressed, if pain is present. Prescription orthotics are also made of top-notch materials and last many years when cared for properly. Although, most insurances rarely often helps pay for prescription orthotics since they consider it preventive care.