runner with orthotics

Chiropractors often get asked by patients about high-priced off-the-shelf orthotics that do not seem to provide the expected results.

To be clear, anything placed in the shoe and under the foot may be called an orthotic. However, most prefabricated orthotics that can be bought off-the-shelf are just contoured soft sponges, or gels that feel good on the soles. Sadly, many of these do not offer any real support. A safer option would be reasonably priced, branded orthotics that are known to give actual support, with some form of arch base and a contoured heel.

In looking for the best orthotics in Burlington, Ontario, however, you must consider first and foremost that pre-fabricated ones generally cannot provide you with the foot support you need. Customized orthotics are preferable. These come in many different styles and are made from different materials like cork, hard plastics, and EVA-foam. Others are made by using a foam impression of the foot– a very popular method. Patients press their feet onto a block of urethane foam, which then creates a mold of the foot that is used to make the orthotics.

The more expensive orthotics are done by computerized force plate method. By using the foam impression, some work is done to figure out where the neutral ankle position is. This determination is largely still considered “guesswork”, however, leaving no guarantees that the resulting orthotics are exactly what the patient needs.

There is another type of orthotics that has found its way to a Burlington foot clinic like Omni Health and Rehab: 3D printed custom orthotics. The process speaks of the latest in technological breakthroughs. First, the foot is scanned, then the resulting data is sent to a computer, which then creates a 3D model for an orthotic that would fit insole, between the foot and the shoe.

Further tweaks and changes can be made on the model as desired. The completed model is then sent to a 3D printer, which outputs the orthotic using a NASA grade nylon material with an antimicrobial coating. The color of the fitting may also be chosen by the patient.

(Source: Spine & Sports: Patients have a love-hate relationship with orthotics, MetroWest, November 13, 2014).

Dr. Anil Kaushal

Dr. Anil Kaushal


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