Patient Resources - Frequently Asked Questions


What are foot orthotics?
Custom biomechanical foot orthotics creates a more normal functional coexistence of the foot and leg. This is done by maintaining the proper anatomical angular relationships between different segments of the foot and leg by controlling abnormal or excessive motion. Foot orthotics are worn inside the shoe. The goal of foot orthotic therapy is to position the foot in an optimum position, control excessive motion, reduce pressure areas on the bottom of the foot caused by faulty mechanics and/or accommodate fixed deformities or at risk areas. 
Should I Get Orthotics?
Foot orthotics are successful in treating many foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, leg and hip conditions. Many practitioners market them as a panacea for every condition imaginable. Not everyone is a candidate for custom foot orthotics. Foot orthotics are not a cure all for lower back, hip, knee and lower leg problems as advertised on TV infomercials. Most back, hip, leg, knee and lower leg problems are a result of a faulty training program, weak or overused muscles, or muscle imbalances. If a biomechanical malalignment is present, biomechanical orthotics can be very successful in treating your problems. If you are undergoing related medical treatment, we recommend that you consult with your physician before engaging in any activity that might alter your treatment plan. You should also inform P.T.I. of any physical therapy you are receiving. In this case, we would work in concert with your physician or therapist in the team approach to rehabilitation. After our evaluation, if we do not think you will benefit from our services we will inform you immediately. 
I have heard the 'break in' process hurts. Will my orthotics be painful at first?
You must do your best to work through the "break-in" period. Areas affected during the 'break-in' may include the foot, ankle, knee, leg, hip and the lower back. You must understand that all the muscle groups above the foot will function in a different manner than they are used to when starting foot orthotic therapy. The orthotics may influence certain muscle groups in your body in a way they are not used to and they may become sore. Your body will need time to adjust, and it may protest initially. The orthotics should not bruise your feet or cause blisters. Adjustments to the foot orthotics may be needed. Sometimes what the foot or body need to function in an optimum position and what the foot or body will tolerate are two different things. We work with each individual on a case-by-case basis to achieve the best result possible. 
If I want an additional pair of orthotics are they the same price?
No, there is a 33% discount for additional pairs if they are molded from your original casts. When your original orthotics are dispensed you are given the casts of your feet to keep. It is important to store them in a safe place so you can take advantage of the additional pair discount in the future. Your feet should only need to be re-casted if your foot size or width changes, the shape of your foot changes or you have had a surgery on your feet. 
What if I already have casts from my old orthotics, can new orthotics be made from those casts?
Yes, as long as your foot size or width shape has not changed, and or you have had no surgeries on your feet. Foot orthotics cannot be fabricated from broken or cracked casts. 
What do I do after I get my orthotics?
In order for the orthotic to function properly you must wear the orthotics in shoes that are supportive enough, or are appropriate for your feet. You will be educated on proper shoe fit and construction for your individual condition. Our criteria for shoe fit and construction will be dispensed with your foot orthotics. Every body reacts to stimuli differently. What works for you might not work for someone else. We have the flexibility to adjust the orthotics and trouble shoot any problems that may arise. 
Will my orthotics fit into any shoe?
The most direct answer is no. It depends on what pathology the orthotic was made for in the first place and what type of footwear they were made for. However, the orthotics are moveable from shoe to shoe providing there is enough room inside the shoe. The foot wear must have a removable insole to provide room for the orthotics. If the orthotics is made for running shoes, that same orthotics cannot be expected to fit into a pump or clog, and vise versa. Many types of orthotics are made full length. In other words, they fit to the end of the shoe. Some orthotics are half or three quarter length. Orthotics that fit into your hiking boots will not fit into your downhill ski boots! We offer orthotics made specifically for different sports. The mechanics for walking and running are very different from fixed stance sports such as skiing, cycling or skating and the orthotics are made completely different. If you use the wrong type of orthotic for your sport or activity you will not function optimally and may produce an injury. 
What type of shoes should I wear with my new orthotics?
The appropriate footwear for your individual condition will be discussed with you at length. Many people believe if you are wearing custom orthotics you can wear cheap flimsy shoes. The exact opposite is true. The shoe has to support the combination of ground reaction forces placed upon it by the supporting surface (the ground) and also control the orthotic which is resisting the severe deforming forces produced by abnormal gait. If the shoe is not supportive enough it will give way and excessive motion within the foot and ankle is created. It is this excessive motion that causes most problems that are associated with the need for foot orthotic therapy. 
Can I wear my orthotics with sandals?
Only if the sandals are made to accept a custom molded orthotics. Regular sandals will not work. Foot orthotic sandals have a removable foot bed that has a molded unit sole that will contain the custom orthotic. P.T.I. Orthotic Laboratory provides custom orthotic sandals. Please refer to the section of our web site 'Orthotic Sandals'. 
How long will orthotics last?
It depends on patient weight and activity. The average life span is between 3 to 5 years. The more active you are, the sooner you will wear them out. A marathoner that trains 80 to 100 miles per week will wear their othotics out sooner than a person that works retail and exercises occasionally. If you think your orthotics are worn out, make an appointment and P.T.I. will evaluate your gait with the orthotics and compare them to the original specifications. Many times the orthotics can be refurbished and re-machined to the original dimensions. If the topcover or cushioning wears out they can also be replaced. 
What if I love my old orthotics but they are falling apart, can they be fixed?
P.T.I. has the expertise to repair and completely refurbish orthotics that are manufactured by other orthotic laboratories. We will also inform you if the orthotics needs to be replaced. 
Will my insurance coverage pay for the orthotics?
Insurance coverage for foot orthotics and pedorthic products and services vary. Most insurance plans no longer cover foot orthotics or pedorthic services. Your insurance carrier requires that a prescription from a physician be presented at the time of service to the supplier/ P.T.I. Orthotic Laboratory. If your insurance provider covers foot orthotics P.T.I. Orthotic Laboratory will provide you with the paper work and the orthotic codes that you will need to submit it to your insurance company. We encourage patients to contact their insurance company to determine what type of coverage is provided for prescription footwear and foot orthotics. Keep in mind that your insurance policy may use certain fee schedules or allowances which may not coincide with our fees. You also need to ask if you can use an orthotic lab that is out of network. Additionally, benefits given by telephone by your insurance company ARE NOT A GUARANTEE of payment. At P.T.I. Orthotic Laboratory, all amounts charged are usual and customary for the premium products and services we offer. P.T.I. Orthotic Laboratory may require pre-authorization and/or payment from ANY third party before any supplies may be released. Many times the amount insurance companies reimburse are much less than the amount that is billed. Therefore the patient is responsible for any amount not covered by third parties. 
Disclaimer: All information published by P.T.I. Orthotic Laboratory or ptiorthotics.com is provided solely for general information and shall not be construed as an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a physician, or qualified health care provider's judgment. We strongly encourage users to consult with a physician or qualified health care professional for answers to personal health questions.