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Orthotic Devices

What are foot orthotic devices?

Foot orthotic devices are special insoles which are custom fabricated to match the structure of each foot. They can be used to:

  • Control abnormal motion
  • Reduce pressure over sensitive or painful areasabsorb shock
  • Support Healing Tissues

Foot orthotic devices are designed to be used with laced shoes. "Slip-on" shoes typically do not have enough extra room to accomodate the devices. Shoes which have removeable insoles are better suited to orthotic wearers. If the insole cannot be removed, it is sometimes necessary to use a shoe which is a half size larger when you are wearing a foot orthotic. There are "over the counter" orthotics available in drug stores or sporting goods stores. These devices are sometimes helpful, but should not be confused with the custom orthotic devices.

How do I get my foot orthotic devices?

Foot orthotic devices are obtained through one of two methods. The first method is to mold warm materials directly to the foot. The materials are then shaped and ground to fit into the shoes. The second method is to make a plaster impression of the foot, which is then dried and sent to a professional fabrication facility where an exact replica of the foot is created. The orthotics are then formed upon this replica to the specifications requested.

Shorter fabrication time (days)
Lower supply cost
Less durable (6-12 months)
Longer fabrication time (weeks)
More expensive
Holds up well over time (2-5 years)

How much should I use my new orthodocs?

The foot orthotic devices are designed to alter the weightbearing environment of the foot. Some are designed mainly for cushioning, and the body adjusts to these compressible materials easily. Some are designed for control, with greater firmness and durability. Because these devices eliminate excessive motion, a gradual program to "break-in" the orthotics is highly recommended. A typical program begins with one hour of wear per day and increases the wearing time by one hour each subsequent day. Once the "break-in" is complete, the devices should be worn whenever you can expect a lot of walking or standing. You should not try to use them for sports participation until you can comfortably walk in them everyday. Most pain experienced by orthotic device wearers during the adjustment period is related to break-in period which was simply too fast.

What will my foot orthotics cost, and will my insurance pay for them?

The fees for foot orthotics include two portions: the service and the supply cost. The service cost represents the charge for the evaluation and fitting of the devices. The supply cost for in-office orthotics varies with the materials and the complexity fo the devices. Your physical therapist can estimate your supply cost before the fabrication process. The supply cost for orthotics obtained through an independant orthotic fabrication lab is $90 per device. Do not assume that insurance will pay the entire cost, and under some plans no costs are covered. WE will be happy to assist you in trying to obtain reimbursement for you othotic costs, but ultimately you are responsible for payment at the time your foot othotics are fitted.