Most people have a gently rounded arch on the bottom of their feet. This arch consists of the tendons and ligaments connecting the foot bones and the heel of the foot. These tendons are connected to other tissues and muscles in the feet and the legs, allowing the different body parts to work together in the mechanics of walking and standing. When the tendons do not connect correctly, the arches may be shallow or even completely flat. This condition is called flat feet or fallen arches. A common test or flat feet is to thoroughly wet the feet, then stand on a dry surface to leave a footprint. Flat feet would be indicated by a print of the full foot instead of the comma-shaped print left by a foot with normal arches.
Custom orthotics are devices which are typically worn in the shoe to comfort and support a person’s feet. While inserts are available over the counter, patients with flat feet and other issues will find better support and increase benefits from orthotics designed and manufactured to fit their feet exactly. Custom orthotics are made from molds of a patient’s feet to fit specifically to the contours of his or her feet and provide support while the patient walks and stands. In order to adjust the person’s gait and help support his or her feet, Dr. Polun will evaluate the patient’s issues and foot structure, monitor hiss or her gait and take molds of the feet to ensure that the orthotics address the specific needs of the patient.
Yes, orthotics are either functional or accommodative. Functional orthotics correct abnormal motion. Additionally, they help to reduce foot pain related to tendonitis or injuries. They are made from semi-rigid plastics or graphite. Accommodative orthotics are softer and cushion and support the feet. They are often worn to accommodate diabetic foot ulcers, bunions, and painful calluses found on the bottom of feet. These devices help to reduce the discomfort associated with conditions like plantar fasciitis, bursitis, foot, ankle, and heel pain, and tendonitis. Customized orthotics are more costly than over-the-counter inserts, however they are tailored precisely for the person and are usually more effective. They are also constructed from higher quality materials and will last several years. Medical insurance generally covers a portion of the cost.