Customs foot orthotics have been used for decades by podiatrists to appropriately align the foot in preparation for weight bearing and ambulation. These devices are fabricated from plaster impressions or digital scans taken of the feet. There are a multitude of materials from which custom foot orthotics are manufactured to provide long-term durability of the devices. Both hard and soft materials can be used to achieve stabilization and shock-absorption goals.
These devices are often used to offload points of pressure and relieve pain with weight bearing. They can be used to maintain foot alignment while providing maximal arch support, thus allowing for a smoother gait cycle. Custom foot orthotics can also slow the progression and development of foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.
Custom-made braces, also referred to as ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), are successful in managing foot and ankle pathology. Plaster cast impressions of the lower extremities are required to fabricate these braces. Each brace is custom-made to meet the needs of the patient’s foot, ankle and lower leg. AFOs are typically used to stabilize severe foot and ankle deformities resulting from neuromuscular problems, ankle instability, osteoarthritis, flat feet and sports injuries. The majority of these braces will fit inside a good athletic shoe or work boot; fitting the brace into a smaller flat or heeled shoe will not be successful.