At McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group, we consider ourselves to be fortunate to have the right people and equipment to perform successful surgical procedures when necessary, but it is always our goal to treat your conditions with conservative methods. One of the best tools we have to accomplish this goal is the use of custom orthotic devices.
A key distinction between these medical devices and the shoe inserts you can buy over-the-counter at nationwide pharmacy chains and retail stores is the “custom” part. Those mass-produced inserts provide additional cushioning and arch support, but are not intended to treat medical issues. The medical devices that we prescribe and custom-prepare for you, on the other hand, are used explicitly to treat (and prevent) foot and ankle conditions.
The actual type of orthosis we prescribe depends on the condition being treated. If the problem arises from a biomechanical abnormality, we will use a functional type. These are made from solid materials and help to adjust biomechanical processes. In other instances, we may prescribe an accommodative orthotic to provide extra support and cushioning. Accommodative ones are usually constructed from softer materials.
Some common conditions treated with orthotics include:
- Bunions – Padding and special shoes with wider toe boxes can be used to manage bunion symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.
- Calluses and corns – Toe separators are used for preventing corns and calluses that otherwise develop between toes.
- Arch abnormalities – Both high and low arches can benefit from custom foot supports to distribute pressures evenly or control overpronation.
- Hallux rigidus (stiff big toe) – Rocker bottom soles and Morton extension inlays can ease the pain and difficulty that comes from this condition.
- Toe deformities – Besides bunions, toe deformities like hammertoe, mallet toe, and claw toe may require a special device to accommodate the affected toes.
- Neuropathic ulceration – Diabetic individuals need to take measures to prevent ulcers, including wearing cushioned orthoses to reduce pressure on their feet.
- Plantar fasciitis – The most common source of heel pain can be treated and prevented with the use of rubber, silicone, or felt heel inserts.
There are other possible uses for orthoses in the treatment of foot and ankle issues, but keep in mind that your first step to finding the relief you need is to contact our foot specialists here at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group. For more information on custom orthotic devices, or to schedule an appointment for treatment, call our Carmichael, CA office at (916) 961-3434.