The Custom Orthotic Advantage
As is the case with all professions, those of us who practice podiatry have certain tools we use when treating our patients. They include instruments and devices like nail splitters and drills, autoclave equipment, and lasers—which are developing a particular prominence in our medical field. Another tool that helps many patients is the use of orthotic devices.
Custom orthotics are tools we can use to correct structural and gait abnormalities and treat an array of foot and ankle conditions. Unfortunately, too many people are not familiar with such medical devices and the tremendous benefits they offer. Let’s look at these valuable podiatry tools and some of the conditions they can treat.
First, we need to clear up the difference between custom foot supports and the shoe inserts purchased over-the-counter at retail stores. The inserts found at the store might be helpful for providing extra cushioning or additional arch support, but are not intended to treat medical conditions.
Custom orthotics, on the other hand, are specialized to a patient’s unique foot structure and gait pattern and prescribed as part of a professional treatment plan. Mass-produced inserts cannot offer the same level of customized options as the ones we carefully prepare for our patients in our offices.
Having distinguished orthoses from store-bought inserts, we can further define them by breaking them down into two different categories – functional and accommodative. Basically, functional types control motion and accommodative ones provide extra support and cushioning. Each has its respective place in treatment plans for issues like bunions, cavus foot (high, rigid foot arches), flatfoot, stiff big toe (hallux rigidus), claw and hammer toe, forefoot pain (metatarsalgia), and plantar fasciitis.
Orthotics can also play a big role in diabetic foot care, especially when used to decrease the risk of neuropathic ulceration. This is a major step in avoiding situations that could otherwise lead to amputation.
When you have a foot condition that could benefit from custom orthoses, The Kansas Foot Center can help. We are proud to provide exceptional foot care services for our patients from across the Greater Wichita, KS community, so contact us today and find out how we can relieve your painful symptoms and restore foot and ankle function. You can always reach us by calling (866) 222-5177 or scheduling an appointment online with any of our Wichita, Newton, or Emporia offices.