Lower Extremity Orthotic Fabrication
What to Expect
During your appointment for Orthotic Fabrication, a Physical Therapist will perform an in-depth gait analysis and biomechanical evaluation to determine which type of orthotic will provide you with the best results. Some devices are meant to provide cushioning and orthotics offer motion control. Once your specific need is determined, one of two methods will be utilized to fabricate the devices. The first method involves the therapist taking a plaster cast mold of your feet. After the casts are dried, they are sent off to a biomechanical lab to have the custom molds professionally made. The devices are fabricated based on the recommendations made by the Physical Therapist in combination with the cast replica of the foot.
- 2-3 weeks to receive
- Durable for 5-7 years
- Higher cost ($350 or more)
Heat Molded Orthotics
- 1-2 days to receive
- Replaced every 6-12 months
- Lower cost ($60 - $150)
After Receiving Your Orthotics
When you receive your orthotic devices, your Physical Therapist will discuss the proper time frame for you to break in the new devices. The orthotics will alter the weight-bearing surfaces of the foot so your body will need days/weeks to adapt to these changes. A typical program starts with 1-2 hours the first day and a gradual increase in hours each day if you are tolerating the devices. You should never wear the devices for exercise/sports activities until you are comfortable in them for an entire day. It is normal for soreness in the arch muscles during the break in time. If you experience hip, knee, or low back pain, remove the orthotics and consult with your Physical Therapist. Most discomfort experienced by new orthotic device users is secondary to not breaking them in correctly.
Orthotics work best in a lace up athletic shoe and one that the insole is removable. If the insole is not removable, you may have to get a shoe that is a half size larger. Casual shoes have less volume and so orthotics that are fabricated for those types of show will have less control/cushion. Slip on style shoes typically do not have enough room to accommodate an orthotic. Your Physical Therapist will discuss these options with you.
Important: Remember to bring a pair of shoes with you to the appointment so that the Physical Therapist can determine the proper device for your foot.