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Custom Orthotics FAQ
Q What is a custom orthotic?
A A custom foot orthotic is a custom-made three-dimensional insert that is placed in your shoe to reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort of your foot, ankle, leg or low back. This custom orthotic will replace the rudimentary factory insoles that came with your shoes. Orthotics work by decreasing high-pressure areas while re-aligning and thus stabilizing the foot. Orthotics will not permanently change your foot anatomy and therefore function only when you are standing or walking on them.

Q What medical conditions are custom orthotics used to treat?
A Orthotics are commonly used to relieve symptoms of pes planus (flat feet) such as plantar fasciitis and prevent the development of medial knee arthritis in these individuals. Orthotics are also prescribed to relieve forefoot pain of metatarsalgia, shin splints, scoliosis, back pain, neuromas, ankle tendon injuries, as well as helping individuals with diabetes or arthritis.

Q How will you cast my foot?
A There are many different casting techniques used to obtain a 3-D image of a foot. There are 3 main methods: plaster slipper, foam box and computer generated. Plaster slipper casting involves applying plaster directly to the foot and captures the contours and shape of your foot in a cast. Foam box involves pushing your foot into a foam box using a semi-weight bearing technique. Each casting method has advantages and disadvantages but a foot care specialist will choose the best option for your condition that gives a good foot impression.

Q How are the orthotics made?
A After the negative impression (plaster cast or foam box) of your foot is taken, it will be scanned by a 3- dimensional laser which converts it to a digital file. Specialized equipment uses the digital file to produce a positive mold which is hard and feels like ceramic. High density polypropylene material is heated and placed over the positive mold. A vacuum press then pulls the material tight to the contours of the mold creating the hard plastic orthotic shell. Once the shell is produced, the lab will finish the orthotic by adding a cover and any other modifications ordered based on the assessment of your health care provider.

Q Who will pay for my custom orthotics?
A Most Extended Health Care plans provided by your employer or an individual plan usually include coverage for some if not all of the cost. OHIP unfortunately does not cover the cost of orthotics but some special Provincial plans sometimes provide coverage. If you are uncertain, please visit our office and we will call your insurance company on your behalf.