What is an orthotic?
An orthotic is any external device used to improve comfort, alignment, or function. For the feet, shoe orthotics, in the form of foam, rubber, or plastic inserts, are often used to provide additional support or cushioning. Generic foot orthotics, available at local grocery stores and pharmacies, may offer a degree of support or cushion, but fail to account for the unique characteristics of an individual’s feet. Customized, or medical, orthotics are made from higher quality materials and designed to address the unique characteristics of an individual user’s feet.
Who needs a customized foot orthotic?
Those who suffer from chronic foot pain, hot spots (painful, high-pressure areas), or less than optimal ankle alignment may benefit from a custom orthotic designed to address their unique issues.
Considerations for custom foot orthotics:
- Stand for long hours
- High arches
- Flat feet
- Plantar fascitis
- Ankle, knee, or hip pain
- Foot pain when exercising
- Achilles' tendinitis
- Excessive pronation
- Unusual shoe wear patterns
- Overlapping toes
- Ball of foot pain
How are customized orthotics made?
In the past, customized orthotics were made by taking plaster molds of an individual’s feet, identifying the necessary corrective elements, and waiting 6-8 weeks for the fabrication process to be completed. It was messy, time-consuming, and often the result was less than optimal. In recent years, 3-D scanners have become available that immediately render a computer model of the patient’s feet, from which precise measurements are obtained and corrective elements identified. The data is then transmitted to a fabrication center and the finished product usually received within 2-3 weeks, sometimes less.
How is Aetrex different?
After years of research, Aetrex determined that most mechanical foot pain is due to one of three causes: 1) poor weight distribution resulting in high-pressure areas, 2) poor ankle alignment, or 3) a combination thereof. Aetrex found they could avoid the mess and wait-time associated with plaster mold orthotics by producing a variety of pre-fabricated models in optional combinations, enabling clinicians the ability to offer highly-customized orthotics to all but the most unique of cases.