A prescription foot orthosis, commonly known as a foot orthotic, is an in-shoe brace which is designed to correct for abnormal foot and lower extremity function (the lower extremity includes the foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh and hip). In correcting abnormal foot and lower extremity function, the prescription foot orthosis reduces the strain on injured structures in the foot and lower extremity, allowing them to heal and resume activities without pain. In addition, prescription foot orthoses can help prevent future problems from occurring by reducing abnormal or pathological forces acting on the foot and lower extremity.
Podiatrists prescribe two main types of prescription foot orthoses for their patients: accommodative orthoses and functional foot orthoses. Both types of prescription foot orthoses are used to correct the foot plant of the patient, however, accommodative and functional foot orthoses are generally made using different materials and may not look or feel the same. Both types of prescription foot orthoses are nearly always prescribed as a pair to allow more normal function of both feet.
Accommodative Foot Orthoses
Accommodative foot orthoses are used to cushion, pad or relieve pressure from a painful or injured area on the bottom of the foot. They may also be designed to try to control abnormal function of the foot. Accommodative orthoses may be made of a wide range of materials such as cork, leather, plastic foams, and rubber materials, and they are generally more flexible and soft than functional foot orthoses. Accommodative orthoses are created from a three dimensional model of the foot which may be made by taking a plaster mold of the foot, stepping into a box of compressible foam, or scanning the foot with a mechanical or optical scanner.
Accommodative orthoses are useful in the treatment of painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, diabetic foot ulcerations, sore bones on the bottom of the foot, and other types of foot pathology. Accommodative orthoses are relatively soft and easy to adjust in shape after they are dispensed to the patient to improve comfort.
Functional Foot Orthosis
Functional foot orthoses are used to correct abnormal foot function and abnormal lower extremity function. Some types of functional foot orthoses may also be designed to accommodate painful areas on the bottoms of the foot, just like accommodative foot orthoses. Functional foot orthoses may be made of flexible, semi-rigid or rigid plastic or graphite materials. They are relatively thin and easily fit into most types of shoes. They are fabricated from a three dimensional model of the foot which may be made by taking a plaster mold of the foot, stepping into a box of compressible foam, or scanning the foot with a mechanical or optical scanner.
Functional foot orthoses are useful in the treatment of a very wide range of painful conditions of the foot and lower extremities. Big toe joint and lesser toe joint pain, arch and instep pain, ankle pain and heel pain are commonly treated with functional foot orthoses. Since abnormal foot function causes abnormal leg, knee and hip function, then functional foot orthoses are commonly also used to treat painful tendinitis and bursitis conditions in the ankle, knee and hip, in addition to shin splints in the legs. Functional foot orthoses are relatively durable, infrequently require adjustments, and are more likely to fit into standard shoes.
If you are in need of an accommodative or functional foot orthosis, the ankle and foot specialists at South Texas Podiatry can help you walk without pain.
In order to design and fabricate a prescription foot orthoses, your foot specialist will perform a biomechanical examination of the foot and lower extremities. They will take angular measurements of the toes, foot, ankle, knees and hip to determine the amount and level of any structural or functional deformities. This examination can be done while the patient is on an examining table and also while standing. Your podiatrist will also do a walking and/or running gait analysis to determine how your foot and lower extremity functions during these activities. Abnormalities from the biomechanical examination and gait examination are noted for future consideration in the design and fabrication of the prescription foot orthoses.
Your podiatrist will then make a three dimensional model of your feet in order to make a prescription foot orthoses. This is done by either applying plaster splints to the patient’s foot, having the patient step into a box of compressible foam, or having the foot scanned by a mechanical or optical scanner. The three-dimensional model of the foot is then used along with a detailed orthosis prescription from your specialist to have the prescription foot orthoses made for the patient.
Foot orthoses are custom made for each foot of each patient, so that each foot orthosis will only fit one foot correctly. In addition, since they fit so exactly to the person's foot, they can be made with relatively rigid, durable materials with a minimal chance of discomfort or irritation to the foot. Prescription foot orthoses also have a much greater potential to effectively and permanently treat painful conditions, all the way from the toes to the lower back, since they are designed specifically for an individual’s biomechanical nature. If you are in need of foot orthoses for your foot or ankle near San Antonio, TX, South Texas Podiatry has got you covered. Visit our office at , or call us at to get more information.
The study of the mechanical nature of the foot and lower extremity is called biomechanics. It is a specialized branch of science that uses the mechanical principles of physics to study the motions and forces on the human body. Podiatrists receive specialized, in-depth training during their four years of medical training on how the movements and forces in the foot affect the movements and forces in the rest of the lower extremity, and how the movements and forces in the lower extremity affect the movements and forces in the foot.
Both functional and accommodative orthoses have different advantages and disadvantages to them.
For instance, the advantages of functional foot orthoses are that they are relatively durable, infrequently require adjustments and more likely to fit into standard shoes. Although, the disadvantages are that they are difficult to adjust and relatively firm or have less cushioning. On the other hand, the advantages of accommodative orthoses are that they are relatively soft, and easy to adjust in to improve comfort. The disadvantages of accommodative orthoses are that they are relatively bulky, have slightly poor durability, and often need frequent adjustments to allow them to continue working properly.
Your foot doctor can assist you in determining which orthoses the condition of your foot calls for.
In many instances, an orthosis will be all that is required for the successful treatment of foot or lower extremity pathology. In most instances, however, an orthosis will be prescribed along with other therapies, such as stretching or strengthening exercises, oral or injectable medications, and specific types of shoes in order to ensure the fastest healing for the patient.
If you are looking for a podiatric surgeon or foot doctor near San Antonio, TX, the experts at South Texas Podiatry will take exceptional care of you. Dr. Ed Davis is experienced in prescribing foot orthoses, as well as treating a wide array of other conditions like bunions, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and much more. Visit our office at , or call us at to schedule your appointment today