Pedorthics 101: Orthotics, Custom Shoes & Compression Socks

The Pedorthist is an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team at Choice Health Centre, working alongside our chiropractors, physiotherapists and other team members to take care of your healthcare needs. The tools in the Pedorthist’s tool box are orthotics, custom footwear and compression stockings.  We will briefly discuss these in this blog post. 

The most common reasons to recommend orthotics are to:

  • provide support to the feet
  • to protect the joints of the lower limbs
  • to enhance athletic performance
  • to prevent injury 
  • to promote balance.  

It is so awesome to see kids run faster after they get their orthotics because they are now going through a normal gait cycle!

How do you determine when orthotics may be right for you?

One of the first indicators is foot pain that persists despite all other treatment modalities that are being used. 

Another reason would be foot deformities such as flat feet (Pes Planus) or very high arched feet (Pes Cavus), bunions, or wounds that are not healing on the feet. 

All Diabetics should  consider a pedorthic assessment as they have increased risk of neuropathies which may result in ulcers which are very hard to heal. Assessment will include examination for “hot spots” or areas of increased pressure on the feet, which can lead to ulcers. The hot spot can then be off-loaded with a custom orthotic.   Similarly, patients with chronic callouses and corns, can have a custom orthotic to off-load the pressure point, allowing for the callous or corn to self- resorb and self- resolve. 

People dealing with balance issues due to diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS, MS or following a stroke may also benefit from a traditional orthoses or a sensory motor orthoses to help facilitate balance and stability, preventing falls and injuries. 

Look at your shoes – do they have abnormal or extreme wear patterns? That alone could be an indicator that you require an orthotic assessment. 

How long will my orthotics last?

Typically, orthotics will last 2-3 years and we do recommend a reassessment at that time.  If there is a change in condition before that time, like a surgery or fracture, we would recommend an assessment once the patient is healed as there may be functional changes.

Shoes 101

When we are assessing for orthotics, we can’t forget the importance of the shoes that the orthotics will be going into.  As part of your pedorthic assessment at CHC, we always ensure that the shoe you are wearing is stable with a good heel counter and fits well.  When an orthotic is in a shoe that does not fit well, it will not do the job it is supposed to. Our pedorthist will always make specific shoe recommendations for each patient, based on their foot and their functional goals. 

The technology:

At Choice Health Centre, we use three dimensional printed orthotics or foam casting, depending on the case, to make the best orthotic for the patient. We will do a gait assessment, which can also include a running assessment for an athlete, using an electronic gait scan.

Compression socks:  

In many cases, your health care provider may recommend compression socks as a treatment for your lower limb or foot complaint.  

Indicators for Compression socks/stockings are:

  • Deep Vien Thrombosis
  • Edema/Swelling
  • Pregnancy
  • Those whose work requires prolonged standing 
  • Those who must fly in planes frequently 
  • Varicose veins

Custom Shoes: 

Our Pedorthist also makes custom shoes for those patients who want to improve their foot function, be more active, decrease pain, yet for whatever reason, have difficulty with an orthotic. Most insurance companies will cover this expense.

At the end of the day, when orthotics are combined with other treatment modalities like physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, etc. that is when the magic happens!  If you think you might need a pedorthic assessment, please do not hesitate to give our clinics a call- we are pleased to offer Pedorthic services at all 4 of our locations across HRM. 

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