Overview of Orthotics

Orthotics are orthopedic devices that are used to alter or modify foot function and are designed to treat, adjust, and support various biomechanical foot disorders. Some orthotics are simple, commercially-made devices, such as cushioned heel cups or insoles for shoes that are sold over the counter in drug stores or other retail establishments.

The most effective orthotics, however, are custom-made devices that are crafted to meet the specific needs of a particular individual. Custom orthotics are created using an impression of the foot called a cast, which duplicates any misalignments in foot structure. Using the cast and computer technology, technicians in an orthotic laboratory design a device that balances out deformities and corrects misalignments.

The finished orthotic is placed in the patient's shoe to support the foot and eliminate abnormal foot biomechanics by keeping the foot properly aligned. Depending on the patient's needs, the orthotic may have padding to cushion the foot and make it more comfortable.

Orthotics
With & Without an Orthotic
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Publication Review By: Steven L. Rosenberg, D.P.M., John J. Swierzewski, D.P.M.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2011