Do you think you could benefit from orthotics in London, Ontario? Westmount Foot and Orthotic Clinic offers assessments to determine whether orthotics are the right choice in treating a number of foot and ankle abnormalities from aches and pains to deformities and diabetic feet. We offer several varieties of custom orthotics so that we are able to treat a wide range of foot and ankle conditions. With an on-site orthotics laboratory, Westmount’s turnaround times are relatively short for new orthotic appliances, as well as for orthotic repairs. For additional information on custom orthotics in London, Ontario, please schedule a consultation.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to correct abnormalities or irregularities of the foot and ankle. Orthotics can also be used to correct gait and walking patterns. Not solely for arch support, orthotics can also be used to make standing, walking, and running more comfortable, as well as prevent injury. For athletes, orthotics can be a great help in adjusting the angle at which the foot makes contact with the ground during walking or running activities.
Ensuring the public has options in safe, effective foot care, the College of Chiropodists of Ontario regulates and develops standards for those prescribing orthotics. Learn more about orthotic standards by reading the Standards of Practice for Chiropodists and Podiatrists from the College of Chiropodists of Ontario.
Types of Orthotics
Although, pre-fabricated orthotics are available at drug or shoe stores, it’s always best to consult your chiropodist to ensure your purchase helps to alleviate your problem. Custom-made orthotics are tailored to the exact dimensions of your foot, something you will not find with a store-bought orthotic. A biomechanical assessment of your feet and walking gait are also important factors in creating a custom orthotic.
There are three orthotic types that are categorized by function and performance.
A rigid orthotic is designed to control motion in three major foot joints, all of which lie directly below the ankle. The devices are designed to correct abnormal problems which cause strains, aches, and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back that may seem only remotely connected to foot function. These sturdy, long-lasting orthotics use a firm material and are used primarily for walking or dress shoes.
A soft orthotic can be of great use in enhancing the comfort of daily and sports footwear. These are primarily used for absorbing shock, deflecting pressure, and promoting balance. Soft orthotics are typically constructed of soft, compressible materials, and extend from the heel to the toes.
The advantage is that it is flexible and can adapt to varying weight-bearing forces. The disadvantage is that it must be periodically replaced or refurbished. It is used primarily to provide comfort and therefore very effective for arthritic and deformed feet, as well as and diabetic feet.
The semi-rigid orthotic provides dynamic balance and support, usually in activities such as walking or sports. Semi-rigid orthotics help guide the foot through proper functions, allowing the muscles and tendons to perform more efficiently. The orthotic is constructed from a combination of soft and more rigid materials.
Orthotics for Children
Orthotic devices are effective in the treatment of children with foot deformities. It is recommended that children with foot deformities be placed in orthotics soon after they start walking to help stabilize the foot. The length of time a child needs orthotics depends on the extent of the deformity and how quickly it can be corrected.
Gait Analysis/ Biomechanical Assessment
A biomechanical assessment involves assessing and measuring different motions of the foot, ankle, leg, and lower back. Gait analysis assesses the posture, form, and mechanics while at normal walking speed. There are several techniques available on the market for the evaluation of the gait cycle. The computerized gait cycle analysis is one of them. The measurements taken with this technique may vary with the posture of the patient while standing, as well as the number of times the patient walks over the mat. Most chiropodists and podiatrists do not use this technique. The reliability of this technique depends on the qualification of the evaluator. If you decide to pursue this technique, I suggest that you consult with a chiropodist or podiatrist to determine if the weight bearing measurement technique properly suits its intended purpose.
In our clinic, we use the Plaster of Paris casting technique, which is presently used by a majority of podiatrists and chiropodists. This technique captures the precise measurement of your foot and allows for the corrections to be made on the mould prior to the orthotic being made.
How is the orthotic made in our lab?
Once the cast is removed from the foot, a mould is made using Plaster of Paris. Corrections are applied to the mould based on the biomechanical assessment. This is done by removing or adding plaster depending on the condition to be corrected. For example, if pressure has to be deflected away from the area where the corn occurs, corrections have to be made on the mould accordingly. After the corrections are completed, the moulds are placed in a vacuum former. The heated orthotic material is placed on the mould and a vacuum is generated to make the plastic conform to the shape of the mould. The “shell” resulting from this process is then machine ground to accommodate the shoe. A top cover is then applied to the shell and the final product is buffed before it is fitted into the shoe.