Some patients who suffer from foot and ankle problems, such as tendinitis,  bunions, plantar fasciitis, or even ulcerations and very flat feet, often need custom orthotics or a customized shoe insole/arch support. The reason these are needed is due to the fact that many serious and recurrent foot issues are caused by abnormal foot alignment. 
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are custom arch supports that are intended to correct an abnormal, or irregular, foot structure or walking pattern.  They are worn in you regular shoes to provide support and to properly realign the issues causing your pain.  They perform functions that make standing, walking, and running more comfortable and efficient by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes the ground. 
Orthotics take various forms and are constructed of various materials with the ultimate goal of improving foot function and minimizing stresses that are causing your pain. 
How do I know if I need them?
Usually one of our doctors will help you determine if custom orthotics are right for you. Many patients can benefit from a quality over the counter orthotic, such as powersteps, or a semi custom like our quadrsstep system.  However certain conditions and foot types are too severe to be accommodated in these type of prefabricated orthotics. In that case, on of the doctors at prairie path foot and ankle clinic will suggest a custom made orthotic. 
How are they made?
The process of making a custom orthotic typically begins with an assessment by one of our doctors. After a through examination of your feet both standing and sitting as well as via X-ray, we determine if orthotics are medically necessary.  
Our in trained medical staff works with the doctors to perform a thorough an exam which will include measurements of your foot, ankle and lower leg. 
At this time we also take pictures of your feet "pre-orthotics" and a video of you walking. 
The video is reviewed by your doctor and is used to perform a thorough gait analysis.  
A cast impression of the foot using plaster is then made and sent to our lab with your pictures, video and measurements. It's quite a process! 
What happens next?
Once the orthotic is ready, patients return for a fitting with our staff.  Be sure the bring the shoes you will be wearing most often so the orthtotic can be fit to that shoe. The orthotics are checked to ensure they are properly aligning your foot when standing and walking. 
After that you will have a 3 week follow up with either your doctor or a member of our medical staff, at which time any adjustment needs can be determined. Sometimes we are able to do these adjustments at our office and sometimes they need to be sent back to the lab. Either way be patient, because we are making the perfect device for you!!
Dr. Misty McNeill
Connect with me
D.P.M. - Founder of Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic