Prescription Functional Orthotics
At the Foot Institute, our orthotics are prescription, customized molded inserts that can be transferred from shoe to shoe. Prescription functional orthotics are designed to assist in the corr ection of biomechanical problems that affect the feet, ankles, knees, back and other structures as we walk, run or perform other activities. They sup- port the foot and help to restore the proper alignment of the joints and bones within the foot. Many foot problems can be directly attributed to collapsed or fallen arches or other biomechanical faults such as pronation (rolling in and collapsing of the arches when walking) and supination (rolling outward of the ankles and raising of the arch). These problems can be genetic in origin and most patients do not realize there is a problem until various symptoms begin to appear. These symptoms will generally be manifest by pain. Doctors at The Foot Institute perform biomechanical exams that often help determine the cause of the problem. Often, pain in associated areas such as the knees, hips or back is caused from improper foot biomechanics. If a biomechanical fault is identified, your Doctor will explain how this problem can generally be alleviated through prescription functional orthotics.
How Functional Orthotics are Created
After consulting with your Doctor, if you choose to have a pair of functional orthotics, a plaster mold of your feet will be taken while you are in a non-weight-bearing position. The mold is taken while the patient's feet are in the proper "neutral position". This casting technique results in an orthotic device which is best able to control the foot for optimal patient outcomes. The molds are allowed to dry and then specially packed and sent along with the prescription and payment to a Lab that makes functional orthotics.
Functional orthotics cost in the range of $499. Fees received for the orthotics cover the casting process, the biomechanical exam, laboratory fees, shipping and handling, etc. Your custom molded orthotics will be sent from the Laboratory to your Doctor in approximately 2 – 3 weeks time. Patients will then be "fitted" to the orthotics to ensure that the desired biomechanical correction has been achieved.
Patients should be scheduled for revisits at four weeks, eight weeks and one year to ensure that the orthotics are addressing the biomechanical dysfunction and the symptomatic problems (i.e. pain) are being resolved. The device is also examined at the one year check-up to ensure it is functioning correctly and holding up to the wear and tear of time.
Orthotics – is There a Difference?
Orthotics supplied by Doctors at the Foot Institute generally differ greatly from orthotics sold by other sources. Orthotics supplied from others are usually accommodative and not functional.
Accommodative orthotics may provide some cushioning and shock absorption, but generally they will not correct the biomechanical dysfunction that is in the most need of being corrected. Although accommodative orthotics may be cheaper and quicker to produce, only prescription functional orthotics are manufactured and designed to correct biomechanical problems that often are the cause of pain. Prescription orthotics are also manufactured to withstand up to four times the body's weight since this is often equivalent to the force exerted through the feet when we walk or run.
insuranceMost private insurance policies cover functional orthotics prescribed by a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine or a Medical Doctor. The amount of coverage from your insurance company will vary from policy to policy. All patients will receive a letter and receipt that can be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement.
After a patient receives orthotics, it generally takes approximately 2-3 weeks until the body "readjusts" to the correct position.
Because a patient's body (knees, hips, spine, muscular system, etc.) has "adapted" to the ground in a certain way, the body needs to be readjusted slowly to the corrected position.
If you still experience pain or discomfort after the adjustment period, you must notify your Doctor as adjustments to the device maybe required. If the problem persists, your Doctor will suggest alternative treatments or options. Accompanying your pair of orthotics will be an instruction sheet suggesting the length of time your orthotics should be worn each day until your body has had a chance to readjust. As soon as you ar e able to wear your orthotics comfortably, it is important to wear them as often as possible since like eye-glasses, they only work when you use them. Continuous use of your orthotics helps to control or eliminate foot pain and assist in keeping your body in the correct position.
Orthotics from The Foot Institute will assist in improving or correcting the biomechanic dysfunction that a patient is experiencing. Orthotics are not guaranteed to alleviate 100% of the pain you may be experiencing. Depending on the problem you are experiencing, you can expect varied degrees of pain relief. If a patient is experiencing plantar fasciitis, capsulitis, calcaneal apophysitis or other associated problems, patients will experience a resolution of their painful symptoms approximately 80% of the time. Problems such as neuromas, bunions and other conditions will often respond favorably to orthotics, but may also require surgical intervention in order to completely resolve the problem. However, before any surgical intervention, Doctors at The Foot Institute recommend addressing the biomechanical fault which first caused the problem. By first addressing the biomechanical dysfunction (i.e. through orthotics) patients are less likely to see a recurrence of the original problem after completion of their surgery.
As orthotic inserts are transferred from shoe to shoe, there may be certain shoe types that do not comfortably accommodate your orthotics. Women generally experience this difficulty more than men given the difference in shoe gear between men and women (e.g. high heels). Your Podiatrist will work with you to prescribe orthotics which will best accommodate your existing shoe gear. However, depending on the type of shoes you own, you may be required to purchase additional shoes to accommodate your orthotics.
If this is a concern to you, please consult with your Doctor prior to requesting orthotics.
Ask Your Doctor First
If you choose to purchase orthotics, then we ask you to follow the instructions carefully so that the best results will be achieved. By ordering orthotics you are acknowledging the information contained here and as further explained by your Podiatrist. If there are any questions or reservations you have, please discuss them with your Doctor prior to ordering your orthotics, as there is a no return/refund policy given that the lab requires prepayment.