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Answers to All Your Queries About Orthotics

If your feet have been experiencing some sort of pain, you may want to look into getting custom orthotics for your shoes. But what are custom orthotics and how do they help relieve your feet? Read Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic’s FAQ to learn more.


Once you decide to order reliable custom orthotics in Calgary, contact us.

Custom Orthotics FAQ

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about custom orthotics:

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are shoe inserts made of flexible moulded thermoplastic that you place in your footwear to help correct abnormal or irregular walking patterns. When these patterns are slightly altered correctly, you will notice that your ability to stand, walk, and run will have improved.

As your feet support your body’s entire weight, any imbalance they have will affect your body in a variety of negative patterns, such as back pain. Orthotics are meant to help relieve that pain like the braces you get for your teeth by exerting gentle, consistent pressure on the foot to bring its muscles and bones back to proper alignment.

What’s the difference between custom orthotics and the ones I can buy in stores?

Many commercially available insoles are referred to as “orthotics.” Unlike prescription orthotics, these insoles are not developed specifically for your feet and the problems you are experiencing. When you visit a podiatrist for prescription orthotics, the doctor will assess your foot, complete a biomechanical exam and take imprints of your feet. Your orthotics will then be manufactured by a trained professional in an accredited lab. Custom-made orthotics are uniquely built to support the misalignment of your feet, help alleviate pain and improve your gait — something that generic insoles are unlikely to achieve.

I’ve heard both “orthotic” and “orthosis” being used to talk about my shoe inserts. Is there a difference?

No, the two terms are referring to the same thing. “Orthosis” is just the clinical term that physicians and healthcare providers use frequently while “orthotics” is the more commonly used term by the general public.

What types of foot conditions can custom orthotics help?

  • Excessive foot pronation (flat feet)

  • Malalignment syndromes

  • Children's foot problems including in-toe, out-toe and flatfeet

  • Neuromas (burning on ball of the foot)

  • Relief of pain caused by bunions, corns and calluses

  • Foot pain and fatigue

  • Leg pain and fatigue

  • Knee pain

  • Back pain

  • Sports injuries

  • Arthritis

Can I wear my orthotics in all types of shoes?

Orthotics are transferable between similar types of shoes. If your orthotics were made primarily for walking shoes, they should easily fit into your athletic shoes and other casual/walking shoes. However, you probably won’t be able to wear them in dress shoes or specialized footwear (such as ski boots or skates). When you meet with Dr. Russell to order your orthotics in Calgary, he will advise you if you may benefit from orthotics for specialized footwear.

How should I care for my orthotics?

To clean your orthotics, wash them with mild soap and warm water and leave to air dry. You should regularly remove your orthotics from your shoes to allow them to air out. Finally, do not place your orthotics near sources of heat (space heaters, baseboard heaters, dryers or fireplaces).

How do I know if my orthotics have been helping my feet?

As the foundation of your entire body, your feet work incredibly hard every day. If there is even the slightest imbalance in your feet, it will affect the rest of your body, causing a great deal of discomfort. Using prescription orthotics, you can relieve that pain entirely. Such custom orthotics are designed to help you restore the normal balance and alignment of your feet, which will also improve the biomechanical balance of your body. If they work as intended, you should feel an immense relief from any fatigue and pain you felt previously.

How long have orthotics been around for?

Early shoe makers (cobblers) recognized that many people complained of foot pain, especially after traveling long distances. Gradually cobblers began modifying foot pads by adding leather materials to the insides of shoes to create a better, more comfortable fit. Although these early arch supports were beneficial, they were often bulky and heavy. By the early 1900s, electricity and bench grinders made it easier and more efficient to cut and shape leather devices for shoes, making better-quality shoes affordable for more people. In the 1960s a new generation of thermoplastics was born, which was ideal for making light-weight, strong plastic orthotics. Since the 1960s, the art of making custom orthotics has been continually enhanced. Podiatrists have been very involved in the advancement of orthotics and are leaders in orthotics research and development.

Are orthotics covered by insurance plans?

Many private insurance companies include orthotics and podiatry services in their coverage. Coverage can vary greatly from 0% to 100%. Patients should check with their individual insurance plans to find out if they are covered.

How long will it take for my orthotics to be ordered and made?

Once the patient has been scanned, the scan is sent to a lab where the orthotics are specially fabricated for the patient's unique fit. The patient can expect orthotics to take approximately two weeks to be made. Once they are sent to our office, the patient is immediately called to notify them that they are ready.

Have More Questions on Orthotics?

We will happily answer each one of them for you.

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