Orthotics

Do you do orthotics?

Yes! Our chiropodists are able to prescribe and dispense orthotics, if indicated.

Chiropodists registered with the College of Chiropodists of Ontario are the only professionals whose statutory scope of practice explicitly includes the provision of orthotic devices!

“The practice of chiropody is the assessment of the foot and the treatment and prevention of diseases, disorders or dysfunctions of the foot by therapeutic, orthotic or palliative means.”

Are orthotics right for me?

Sometimes our left and right sides are not symmetrical. This is true for our legs and our feet. These asymmetries can be caused by mild deformities – perhaps a torsion in your pelvis, a bowed leg, one leg longer than the other, or a subtle difference between the shape of one foot and the other. When we stand, walk or run our body may compensate for these anomalies. It is these compensations that can put structures such as muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons under abnormal function or over-use.

Symptoms can occur where compromised structures become inflamed or injured.

A biomechanics and gait assessment is an investigation into foot and lower limb function relating to a patient’s heel pain, foot pain, or foot-related knee, hip or back pain.

Plans to improve your symptoms may involve one or more of the following:

  • Exercises to stretch or strengthen muscles.
  • Custom prescription orthotics – specially made devices for you to wear inside your shoe.
  • Footwear with specific features to treat your condition.

A biomechanical assessment

A biomechanical assessment and orthotic prescription is undertaken by a registered foot specialist/chiropodist.

The biomechanical assessment has two parts:

  • Static Assessment: non-weight bearing anatomical examination, muscle testing, weight bearing lower limb posture assessment.
  • Dynamic Assessment: to assess how you move – also called gait analysis.

What are orthotics?

An ‘orthotic’ is a medical term which describes a device that supports, realigns or assists in the function of the musculo-skeletal system. Foot orthotics are used to improve the function of the feet, thereby treating conditions such as those that stem from faulty foot mechanics. Foot specialists/chiropodists often use these devices in their treatment plan.

Functional orthotics apply forces to the feet enabling the foot specialist to alter certain movements or off-load stress within tissues. Their prescription is based on biomechanical assessment and an anatomical cast / scan of the foot.

Accommodative orthoses may be designed to improve skin and tissue viability, balance up a deformed foot, or off-load painful pressure areas.

There are several ways to get a cast / scan of the feet, some effective, and some less so. The Footcare Centre casts using plaster molding or a 3D volumetric laser scan to achieve the gold standard for a functional orthotic: a non-weight bearing subtalar neutral cast.

What is an AFO?

AFO stands for Ankle Foot Orthosis. It is basically an ankle brace mixed with a foot orthotic. They are reserved for conditions that require control that a regular foot orthotic alone cannot provide.

Pain associated with foot conditions such as adult acquired flat foot, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, ‘drop foot’ or problems associated with nerve or muscle damage can often be treated by chiropodists/foot specialists with an AFO.

This special type of orthotic device is prescribed following biomechanical assessment and gait examination. Like other forms of custom foot orthotics, they are made based on a cast or mold of the foot and ankle.

Discuss your concerns about foot posture, bio mechanics and gait (walking or running style) with your chiropodist/foot specialist.