The Manufacturing, The Materials And The Uses Of Custom Orthotics


Through our journey of evolution as human beings, we have come across many changes and out of them our feet were one of the most important body parts which helped us to evolve. Now, there may be sometimes that one’s leg needs some support, to either ease the pain or to recover it to normal from any accident or birth problem. Custom orthotics is one of the most modern method of dealing with feet related problems. Custom orthotics is basically customized foot support designed in a way to balance the biomechanical deficiencies in the feet. This helps in modifying the characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system in your leg. These are available in many pharmacies in a wide range of materials.  In case if you face any size problems you can go for the custom-made Custom orthotics, where you can order according to your size and other preferences.  Some retailers may also require a prescription to make sure that the orthotic made fits the patient and also satisfies his/her medical requirements.

How is it made?


There are a few steps followed to make the Custom orthotics properly.  A manufacturer follows these steps to make a perfect orthotic:

  1. Foot casting:  First of all, your leg is examined properly to get hold of your problem. Once this is done wet plaster strips are used to wrap your leg. This is hollow cast.  It is then sent to the lab, where the cast will be filled. The shell is usually thrown away immediately.  But it is to be noted that you must not be standing while the casting is done.
  2. At the lab:  Once it is sent to the lab the technicians check what you need and confirm the exact specs of the Custom orthotics that is required.  The cast is then pressed against a graphite sheet at extreme heat and is covered using a material that can last for a long period of time.

The materials used:

Custom orthotics is made by using a variety of materials, the selection of which depends upon the requirements. Some of the commonly used materials are thermoplastics, metals, elastic and even carbon fibre.  However, the most commonly used material is graphite.  There are many properties that are considered before the material is chosen. For instance, while graphite is popular because of its flexibility, it is plastic not as thick as plastic. Thus, many factors come into play while choosing the material for Custom orthotics.

Who Provides Custom orthotics?


Custom orthotics requires special skill as insertion and setting up is not that easy and it needs to be perfect. Now, Custom orthotics can be provided by specified person such as, podiatrists, orthotists, an orthopedic surgeon, chiropractors, and some self-described insert stores. These specialists have the much-needed skill to perfectly place the Custom orthotics. As long as a full biomechanical exam has been performed, and the foot has been casted in a subtalar joint neutral position, the orthotic will generally turn out sufficient for use. I have seen good Custom orthotics from therapists and chiropractors due to their knowledge of general biomechanics. On the other hand, I have also seen accommodative padded inserts passed off as functional Custom orthotics as well. Unfortunately, many non-traditional retail store providers of Custom orthotics and inserts have little understanding of how the foot functions and cannot make an accurate assessment as to any compounding foot problems that may need to be addressed in the orthotic fabrication. The devices produced are often inadequate to provide exacting support, and, although not uncomfortable initially, tend to fail in the long term. This is often at great financial cost. In some cases, customers are given what they are told are Custom orthotics, when they are simply over-the-counter inserts that are matched to a person’s shoe size. Some retail locations charge hundreds of dollars for these devices, where actual Custom orthotics may be covered by insurance, and may not even be as expensive if not covered.

The uses of Custom orthotics:

  • These are said to improve balance by allowing the one who is wearing it to walk properly with perfect posture.   They also can reduce any acute pain caused due to walking in very bad and painful positions.
  • It can help maintain perfect alignment of the leg and the joints.
  • This makes it very easy to heal after a fracture. Even after the cast put after fracture is removed, it usually takes a lot of time to get set.  With Custom orthotics the process of recovery is achieved in a comparatively lesser time.
  • It is one of the best ways to reduce pain and correct the shape of the body part where it is used.
  • The pressure created while walking is absorbed by this and equally distributed across the feet.  Since the pain gets distributed, there exists no extreme pain only on that particular part or point of the body.
  • This can ultimately help you walk or stand longer than you usually could.
  • It helps in taking the weight off of specific part of the foot that needs to be fixed and thus helps in removing the excess strain from that foot by supporting it.

The best thing about Custom orthotics is that it is made to perfectly fit the size of your leg. There is no hard rule that it can be used only in case of problems in your leg. Infact, you can also use it just to make sure that you are in a perfect position. This may help you prevent problems in the future. In case if you are using it for medical purposes, just make sure that the purpose is properly served. This gives you more confidence to walk on your own and keep your muscles strong and perfect. Any form of techniques which reduces human efforts and eases their pain is important and Custom orthotics does the same. With its practical usage and effective application by a specialist helps in making the life of those affected easy and comfortable.

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