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What Are The Benefits of Custom Orthotics?

In this article we will be covering what custom orthotics are, the benefits of custom orthotics, how those benefits are accomplished, and the differences between custom orthotics and off the shelf shoe inserts. We will also discuss some of the more common reasons for getting custom orthotics.


What ARE Custom Orthotics?

There are many books and studies that illustrate various detailed methods for constructing custom orthotics.  There are mathematical formulas applied to determine how best to correct angles and joint alignments.  For this post, however, we will focus on the general description of what a custom orthotic is.  There are two broad terms used to describe custom orthotics: accommodative devices and functional devices.  Accommodative devices are designed to support, offload, and cushion certain joints and aspects of the foot – depending on your condition(s).  Functional devices are used to control motion(s), shift angles, or even immobilize certain aspects of the foot – again, depending on condition(s).  There can also be aspects of both of the above mentioned in a single set of orthotics.

Custom Orthotics Are Designed To Do The Following:

  • Improve skeletal alignment
    • Custom Orthotics can be used to change the angles at which a joint is positioned or moves through its range
  • Lessen lower extremity rotation
    • For example, over pronation will cause excessive internal rotation of the lower extremity. Properly supported custom orthotics can decrease this excess amount.
  • Decrease velocity of motion
    • By increasing the structure under the foot, using a variety of materials, we can slow down the velocity at which a joint moves through its range.
  • Alter the mechanical efficiency of the stabilizing muscles
    • Altering the above mentioned can alter tendon and muscle function surrounding the lower extremity joints

Given the above mechanisms of a custom orthotic, the benefits to the body can be endless!!

And this is when the word CUSTOM becomes particularly important.  The design of a custom orthotic is based on a number of different factors.  A full assessment of the joints of the body and an analysis of walking patterns will tell the clinician how best to construct the custom orthotics.  Then, a three dimensional casting technique, careful selection of materials, and a professional fabrication process will finish the process – giving you, the patient, the best results!


“Why can’t I just use Dr. Scholls and other off-brand orthotics?”

Dr. Scholl’s shoe inserts are based on entirely different properties.  Even when you purchase the “custom-made” style, you are purchasing an off the shelf product that will categorize your foot into one of three very general structures.  The measuring procedure that is used for these is known as 2D force-plate analysis.  By standing on a force-plate, it will measure where increased pressures are, and will then inform you that your arch type is low, standard, or high. You can learn more about the differences between store bought and custom orthotics here.

*These are static measurements that do not take into account any biomechanical functions.  Be careful of their use of the word CUSTOM! *

So why get Custom Orthotics in the first place?

Custom Orthotics can be used for many reasons, and most often used to help with a number of concerns at once.  It is best to book in with a specialist to have an assessment.  A pain or symptom may be brought on by a dysfunction that you might not even know you have!  An assessment from a properly trained professional will be able to spot those dysfunctions and treat accordingly.  For example, you may be experiencing pain in your heels or your arches, but your symptoms may be the result of conditions in entirely different areas of the body; compensating because of a condition you have in your Achilles Tendon, if left untreated long enough, may be the reason why you are now getting pain in your big toe joint.  The examples can go on and on.

Where can I buy Custom Orthotics?

As mentioned above you should never buy orthotics without first consulting with a foot specialist such as our Halifax, Nova Scotia Certified Pedorthist, Russell Cattoor.

After a consultation and assessment you can purchase custom orthotics at the following Arthritis & Injury Care Centre locations:

  • Downtown Halifax
  • Clayton Park
  • Dartmouth
  • Fredericton
  • Saint John

View Custom Orthotics Location Details

The Arthritis and Injury Care Centre is dedicated to helping people live pain free lives.  If you have any questions about custom orthotics, or if you want to book a consultation, please feel free to reach us at our toll free #1-888-422-1608 or by e-mailing us.

Russell Cattoor, Certified Pedorthist, Orthopaedic Bracing Specialist 
Arthritis & Injury Care Centre


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