Our doctors here at Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida have many different treatment options at their disposal when they provide quality podiatric care for the foot and ankle disorders causing you trouble. One of the most versatile tools we use to help you find the pain relief you need is a pair of custom orthotics. These medical devices are crafted to work in conjunction with your unique feet and specifically target the issue causing you problems. In addition to orthotic devices, we also prescribe braces to address certain conditions.
Types of Custom Orthotics
As we will discuss, there are many different conditions and issues treated with the use of orthotic devices. Accordingly, not all orthotics are exactly the same. instead they fall into two general categories:
- Accommodative – These orthotic devices are designed to support specific, targeted areas of the foot, while also providing extra cushioning. They are often made out of softer materials, like leather, cork, and plastic foam, and are generally more flexible than functional orthotics. Accommodative orthotic devices are more likely to be prescribed for diabetic foot ulcers and other delicate conditions and medical issues.
- Functional – These types of orthoses are used to control abnormal biomechanical motion. Accordingly, they are constructed from more rigid materials, like firm plastic or graphite. Functional orthotic devices are not particularly flexible, which is important for restricting motion which can otherwise cause discomfort or pain in the feet and into the lower back.
Conditions Treated with Custom Orthotics
Orthotics can be used in treatment for a wide array of foot and ankle issues. These include:
- Bunions – Left untreated, bunions can worsen, but orthotics can be used to redirect pressure off of the affected toe joint.
- Arch abnormalities – High and low arches each create issues with pronation patterns, but functional orthoses can be used to correct pronation abnormalities. Additionally, accommodative orthotic devices might be prescribed to redistribute pressure on the feet.
- Calluses – We may prescribe orthotics to alleviate weight bearing pressure for painful calluses on the ball of the foot.
- Hallux rigidus (stiff big toe) – We can provide relief from the pain and difficulty of hallux rigidus with the use of rocker bottom soles and Morton extension inlays.
- Toe deformities – Similar to bunions, hammertoes and other toe deformities can benefit from accommodative orthoses, which keep pressure off the affected area.
- Neuropathic ulceration – A major concern for diabetic individuals is the development of foot ulcers caused by excessive pressure, but cushioned orthotics can relieve pressure and prevent ulceration.
- Plantar fasciitis – This common source of heel pain is both treated and prevented with the use of accommodative heel inserts crafted out of rubber or silicone.
This list is certainly not intended to be comprehensive. There are other conditions and injuries which can be treated with the use of custom orthotics. For more information, please feel free to contact our office and we will be glad to help.
Braces and Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs)
In addition to more traditional orthotics, braces and ankle foot orthoses are sometimes used in the treatment of lower limb issues (but can also be used when caring for cerebral palsy). An AFO is a device extending from below the knee and down to the foot. These are often used to maintain limb alignment, control motion, and reduce instabilities. Plastic AFOs are often custom-fabricated and provide a stable structure by enclosing both the back of the calf and bottom of the foot. They can either hold the ankle in a fixed position or allow ankle movement, depending on the condition being treated, and are typically worn within normal, lace-up style shoes.
Some of the conditions benefiting from either balance braces or AFOs are neurological, like multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Orthopedic conditions treated with these devices include fractures, severe sprains, and arthritis. Stroke victims are sometimes prescribed braces to improve stability while standing or walking.
Custom Orthotics in Florida
Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida provides comprehensive podiatric services. Our podiatrists prescribe many different treatment methods—including braces and orthotic devices—to help patients overcome pain and have improved functionality in their lower body. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or are unable to perform your favorite activities due to a foot or ankle issue, contact us by calling 407-339-7759 and request an appointment for treatment. If you are calling from Lake County, call 352-589-9550. Of course, you can also request your appointment for any of our Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Kissimmee, Tavares, or Orlando offices online today.