Foot orthotics have been utilized for many decades by health care professionals like the Canadian Certified Pedorthists at OKAPED to support structural or alignment issues within the feet, legs, knees, and even up to the hips and back. Foot orthotics are also often prescribed and fit to reduce pressure loads to specific regions of the feet where offloading of wounds like diabetic ulcers and bruised or irritated tissue in the feet is required. The need for custom foot orthotics arose form the fact that generic arch supports are made from a basic shape the manufacturer deems “most appropriate” for may feet. In general they are often too low for high arched feet and can in turn be to high for low arched feet. This mismatch can then develop into a fit and comfort issue for many individuals. An important fact about feet is that arch height alone is really not a predictor of any biomechanical issue or the potential for one. A proper biomechanical assessment and gait analysis is essential to gain proper insight into how your feet actually work and are aligned and if any problems exist.

Custom foot orthotics are designed by a professional such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthists at OKAPED. The initial exam provides the clinician with an understanding of the underlying biomechanical issue that needs to be addressed. The clinician chooses variables such as a base material for the supportive shell, additions to the shell such as wedging, lifts, padding or cut outs. The orthotic design then outlined for manufacturing so that it meets the treatment objectives of the clinician. True custom orthotics are fabricated via 3D volumetric measurements of the feet. This may include casting, digital scanning or direct molding. 2D pressure mats do not “make” orthotics. Pressure does not give you the height and shape of the foot. Without measuring or molding the contour, height and structural anomalies of each foot the device is not truly custom made. At  OKAPED our custom foot orthotics have been locally hand made since 1997 at our Kelowna head office and lab on Ambrosi Rd.

Like most medical devices, foot orthotics often require ongoing care and in some cases refurbishment. Certain materials like our polypropylene shells last many many years. A cushioned top sheet however for an athlete who also works on their feet may require a new top cover replacement every 2-3 years. When we are helping to heal wounds with orthotics, many of the soft components and specialized anti-friction and pressure reduction materials may require yearly replacement. These specific traits are outlined to you when the orthotics are fit. OKAPED clinicians book a 30 min appointment to ensure your orthotics fit as designed, and fit well into the footwear they were designed for. Proper footwear is essential for good outcomes with orthotics. In the design stage, your clinician will discuss the most appropriate footwear for your specific orthotics. Although a friend or family member may have an ultra thin, narrow orthotic they can use in a variety of shoes, orthotics that are designed to truly alter you gait and alignment are not always thin and small. We certainly will do our best to help with your usability and compliance, but function overrides fashion in most cases. In dress shoes and smaller footwear a more appropriate option instead of reducing the effectiveness of your main orthotics is to discuss the appropriateness of a second slimmer, smaller device may be manufactured specifically for those shoes.

To learn more about how OKAPED specifically designs and makes orthotics visit: https://www.okaped.com/product/custom-foot-orthotics/