What are foot orthotics?
Custom biomechanical foot orthotics create 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. They 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 issues. 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 PTI Orthotics of any physical therapy you are receiving. In this case, we would work in tandem 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 right away and explain everything to you.
I have heard the 'break in' process hurts. Will my orthotics be painful at first?
We strongly encourage you to work through the “break-in” period. Areas affected during the break-in may include the foot, ankle, knee, leg, hip and lower back. You must understand that all the muscle groups above the foot will function in a different manner than they are accustomed to when starting foot orthotic therapy. The orthotics may influence certain muscle groups in your body in a way they are not used to, causing soreness. 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 also be needed. Sometimes what the foot or body needs 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 that 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. We will provide you with all the information you need regarding proper shoe fit and construction for your individual condition. Our criteria for this will be dispensed with your foot orthotics. Of course, everyone reacts to stimuli differently, so what works for you might not work for someone else. We have the flexibility to adjust the orthotics and troubleshoot any problems that may arise.
Will my orthotics fit into any shoe?
The most direct answer is no. It depends on what type of footwear and pathology the orthotic was made for in the first place. However, orthotics are potentially moveable from shoe to shoe providing there is enough room inside the shoe. Many types of orthotics are made full-length. In other words, they fit to the end of the shoe. Some are half or three-quarter length. It’s best that the footwear have a removable insole to provide room for the orthotics.
Now, if the orthotics are made for running shoes, the same orthotics cannot be expected to fit into a pump or clog, and vice versa. Orthotics that fit into your hiking boots will not fit into your downhill ski boots. We also 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 cause 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 that 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 will be 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 custom-molded orthotics. Regular sandals will not work. Foot orthotic sandals have a removable footbed that has a molded unit sole containing the custom orthotic. PTI Orthotics & Foot Resource Lab can provide you with these custom orthotic sandals. Please feel free to ask us for more information when you come in for an appointment.
How long will orthotics last?
It depends on the weight and activity level of the patient. The alifespanfe 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 orthotics out sooner than a person who works retail and exercises occasionally. If you think your orthotics are worn out, make an appointment and PTI Orthotics will evaluate your gait with the orthotics and compare them to the original specifications. It’s possible that the orthotics can be refurbished and re-machined to the original dimensions. If the top-cover 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?
PTI Orthotics has the expertise to repair and completely refurbish orthotics, even those that are manufactured by other orthotic laboratories. We will also inform you if we feel it’s necessary to completely replace the orthotics.
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. If your insurance provider covers foot orthotics they may require that a prescription from a physician be presented at the time of service to the supplier. PTI Orthotics will provide you with the paperwork and the orthotic codes that you will need to submit it to your insurance company. We encourage patients to first contact their insurance company to determine what type of coverage is provided for prescription footwear and foot orthotics before scheduling an appointment with us.
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 PTI Orthotics, all amounts charged are usual and customary for the premium products and services we offer. PTI Orthotics 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.