Orthotics or shoe inserts may be used to treat a number of foot ailments such as heel spur pain, metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot), plantar fasciitis and biomechanical imbalances in the foot and/or ankle. I advised patients it is important to first start with the correct style and fitting shoe to determine what additional type of support and possible modifications may be needed to improve relief of symptoms and/or gait.
Orthotics can be pre-fabricated (off the drug store shelf) or custom made where the podiatrist takes a mold of the feet and sends them to a lab with specific instructions of what type of materials to be used in the fabrication process.
Once the patient is fitted with orthotics, break in instructions are provided to insure that the transition period is smooth since the biomechanics and feel of the patients gait is now being corrected. When appliance comfort is assured, the patient is usually followed on an annual basis to monitor symptoms and orthotic appliance wear and tear.