Do you stand or walk all day long at your job? Do you have tired and achy feet? Do you feel heel pain when you get out of bed in the morning? Do you suffer from back or knee pain? Do you have diabetes? Does your child have poor posture or a flat foot?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions above, then what youz need is a custom made orthotic. What are custom made orthotics one might ask? And how are they different from over the counter products sold in local drug stores? To answer these questions and provide us with insightful information, we have interviewed a foot specialist (Pedorthist) at ORTHOMED Clinic and Supply.

Q: Can you explain what an orthotic is?

A: Certainly! Foot orthotics (also known as orthotic insoles or shoe inserts) are devices placed inside the shoes to control and “normalise” foot function.  Chronic overuse of the foot due to long standing, running, walking and uneven weight distribution may result in abnormal foot motion. This negatively influences foot function and can lead to abnormal rotation of the bones of the legs, influencing ankle joints, knee joints, hip joints and the back. Think of your foot as of a foundation of a house. If a foundation gives way-the whole house is affected. Similarly, if the function of your foot is altered, the whole body is affected. An orthotic helps to improve structural changes of the foot by re-aligning the foot and ankle bones to their neutral position, allowing the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot to function at their highest potential. Hence, restoring natural foot function.

Q: Why do we need Orthotics?
A: It is estimated that 70% of the population suffers from a condition called over-pronation due to flat feet or fallen arches. This can be contributed to the hard, flat surfaces we walk on daily. Other factors that play a role include age, weak ankles, and excess body weight. As a result, over-pronation is much more prevalent in people in their fifties and older, and also in overweight persons.

Q: Who should wear the orthotics?
A: There is a preconception that only very ill people or elderly have to have an orthotic. This myth is outdated and has to be put to rest. An orthotic is strongly recommended if you have any of the following conditions: back pain, flat foot, diabetic foot, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, heel spurs, poor posture, corns, bunions, pronation, toe pain, shin pain. However, if you do not have these conditions, but experience generalized foot pain or spend a lot of your time walking or standing during working hours, orthotic would help you to prevent formation of majority of conditions associated with foot over use. I myself, wear an orthotic on every day basis, although I do not have any medical indication for it.

Q: What types of orthotics are available in the market?
A: Well, there are many choices available today. However, let us distinguish between custom made orthotics and over the counter orthotics.
Custom made orthotics, are those orthotics that are manufactured from the cast of your foot. When a patient comes to see me, I first take a look at his gait pattern and biomechanics. Then I make an impression, or a cast of his feet, which in turn gets send to the orthotics laboratory.
In the lab, the original impression is filled with liquid plaster to form a positive model. Then a special machine creates a negative from the desired material (leather, vinyl, polypropylene, PPT). Layers of these materials are composed together to make an orthotic. There are various types of orthotics available, depending if a person wants to use them in his dress shoes, running shoes, work shoes. You can even make orthotics for high heel shoes or safety shoes. Now, as for over the counter orthotics, one has to understand that they are generic. Regular insoles are purely designed to provide a cushioning effect and shock absorption. They may feel comfortable at first; however, they do not address any biomechanical issues. It is like purchasing eye glasses without knowing your prescription. Personally, I would recommend getting a custom made orthotics in order to achieve maximum benefits.

Q: I have insurance coverage through my employer, would orthotics be on the list of things covered?
A: Yes, in most cases all insurance plans have provisions for custom made orthotics, however in order to be reimbursed fully a client has to follow certain steps. It varies from plan to plan, but generally, a client is advised to get a referral from their family doctor, indicating diagnosis, first. With the referral, the client shall go to see a foot specialist in order to get biomechanical analysis and a cast. Here, at ORTHOMED Clinic and Supply, we take care in making sure that the client is pleased with the quality of the product and the paperwork satisfies the standards of one’s insurance coverage.

My name is Mark, I am a client of Orthomed Clinic. I would like to thank Mrs. Kay for selecting proper orthotics for me to help me with my heel pain. My work involves a lot of walking and standing. Before, at the end of my workday I got severe pains in my feet, now with proper orthotics my feet don’t hurt as they used to. Plus I got a pair of good leather shoes as a gift to wear with my orthotics. Also, the clinic took care of all the billing and I got money back from my insurance very fast.                                                          Mark 39, Mississauga.

My name is Ajeet and I have bunions and diabetes. Before visiting Mrs. Kay, my feet were hurting a lot and I did not know what to do. Mrs. Kay explained to me about diabetic foot care and what I need to do to improve my condition. I am very glad I went to Orthomed Clinic,
I feel much better now.                                                                                Ajeet, 51, Malton.

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