New services offered at Dynamic Footworks Langford.

How Long Do Orthotics Take To Make?

So your assessment is done and its time to send your moulds and details to the lab! Your just so excited to have a medical device to help with your condition that you don’t care what it’s made of…but wait, maybe there are a few details you should be checking up on.  Unfortunately, it can be buyer beware out there so listen up for your own protection, satisfaction and health.

Taking it from the top, your “custom” orthotics should be custom, not a mail order template. They should be made from 100% raw materials and hopefully made in an in-house lab that can fully support any adjustments made after your fitting, in an efficient and timely fashion.

There are few things worse than being immobile while you wait for your orthotics to fly or ferry halfway across the country. By “raw” materials I mean flat sheets of heat moldable plastics that will be heated and vacuum pressed to the cast of your foot. This is where the term “custom” comes in and if this is not happening you are being had. You will be very excited to know that I will expand on various “raw” materials and what foot conditions they are used for in future Tech Talk entries. Stay tuned with your symptoms in mind and find out exactly what should be going into the manufacture of your custom orthotics.

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8 Things To Be Cautious Of When Buying A Custom Orthotic

Here is our list of 8 Things To Be Cautious Of When Buying A Custom Orthotic.

1) Be cautious of someone recommending orthotics without completing a thorough assessment. They should examine your footwear, foot biomechanics and range of motion. An assessment should include a sitting/lying exam as well as a standing exam.

2) Be suspicious if the provider is not able to answer your questions or is vague in their answers. They should be able to explain what they are doing and why, in relation to your specific foot problems.

3) Be cautious of any provider that does not make a mold or cast of your foot and claims to provide custom orthotics. An orthotic must be built using your mold in order to fit your foot perfectly and be considered custom.

4) The provider should be able to modify or adjust your orthotic as many times as necessary to provide relief for your symptoms.

5) Orthotics purchased from trade shows, home shoes, kiosks or booths in malls that provide you with a pair of orthotics the same day, without taking a mold or cast of your foot, are not a “custom” orthotic and are not covered by extended health benefits. You are just as well buying a $50.00 over the counter insole.

6) Question any provider that recommends orthotics for your whole family without individually assessing each person.

7) It is very rare that children under the age of 5 require orthotics. The foot needs time to develop and injuries often don’t occur until later in life.

8) The orthotic provider should request a prescription from your family doctor. Be aware if they recommend you go to a doctor of his or her choosing.

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Orthotics: What you need to know

There are many places and people that sell custom orthotics in Victoria BC, but how do you know where to go when you decide to get orthotics?

Luckily there is a very easy checklist to follow to ensure you choose the best option. It is very important to use this checklist as a guideline as your money, and more importantly, your health is at risk. I say health because I have seen first hand injuries caused by wearing improper foot orthotics.

1) Who’s Authorized?

A. First you need to shorten your bench by eliminating a few players (send them to the minors). This can be easily accomplished by looking at their credentials. You should see one of these somewhere on the list: PEDORTHIST, Orthotist, Chiropodist. “These three are recognized as foot care specialists and are trained specifically to assess, design, manufacture and fit foot orthotics. The providers listed above are licensed and governed by either a provincial or national body, and are subject to standards of practice. This, along with each body’s Code of Ethics, helps ensure their accountability and your protection (Manulife Financial, Buying Custom-made orthotics, what you need to know).”

2) What to Expect?
A. Assessment: After booking your appointment you should be seen by the professional you have chosen for a full biomechanical assessment. This can take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, sometimes longer. This assessment should include a thorough medical history review (symptoms, previous injuries etc.), footwear examination, range of motion tests, muscle strength and weaknesses testing, static standing observations and dynamic gait assessment.
B. Treatment options: Your provider should educate you on treatments and how they will benefit you.
C. Custom 3D moulds: If you decide to get orthotics and the person does not take a 3D mould of your foot using either a foam box casting or plaster of paris slipper casting technique, you should walk out the door without looking back. “Having your footprint taken on an inkpad or using your shoe size to provide a prefabricated insole is not considered casting and does not qualify as custom-made (Manulife Financial, 2010).”
D. Manufacturing: Custom-made means that the product you are receiving is going to be made from scratch using raw materials directly from your mould. The time to get this accomplished can take anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks depending if the provider makes in-house orthotics or if they send your moulds away to an independent manufacturer. Having your orthotics made in-house has many advantages, these include: quick turn around time, ability to do adjustments while you wait, skilled technicians that see your foot and actually make the product themselves. You receive a higher quality of care.
i. Note: Some providers will give you a “best fit” footbed. These are still prefabricated inserts that are matched to your cast, however the cast is never used in the actual manufacturing of the orthotic. These are not considered custom-made and would not qualify as such. (Manulife, 2010)
E. Picking up your orthotics: Your orthotics should be sized and fitted to your footwear and your provider should ensure they are comfortable to walk in before letting you go out the door. Sometimes orthotics can take time to get used to so don’t be worried if you feel a little discomfort when you first wear your foot orthotics, that will go away as your foot adjusts. You should be offered a follow-up appointment to ensure that your orthotics are working and you are not experiencing any problems.

NEXT WEEKS BLOG – Be Cautious: 8 things to be aware of when buying custom orthotics.

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