Types of Orthotic Therapy

LCBL custom foot orthotics usually fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. Custom Foot Orthotics
    The gold standard in custom foot orthotic therapy. This design is based on an accurate diagnosis, biomechanical assessment and an accurate laser scan of the foot. A prescription is designed to accurately provide the solution to the individual clients problem. All of theses procedures should be carried out by someone with a third level education in orthotic therapy.
  2. Custom Foot Orthotics: Foam
    As above but using materials designed for clients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions.

Types of Orthotic Therapy to beware of:
There are plenty of ‘clinicians’ that provide orthotic therapy as part of their clinical services but they provide non-custom orthotics and have very limited training in the provision of orthotic therapy.

Customised Orthotics
Another type of foot orthotic is known as “customised” rather than “custom.” These devices can be difficult to distinguish from custom foot orthotics and, unfortunately, are sometimes marketed as authentic custom foot orthotics.

They are often the product of a computerized system where the client is asked to walk across a force plate which then shows pressure distribution on a computer display which only measures a 2-dimensional pressure. There is no way to produce an accurate 3D orthotic using this method.

Typically, the orthotic is made by adding extra components to a pre-manufactured insole. Sadly, clients are often told that these are custom – and charged a custom orthotic price.

So how can you tell the difference between customized orthotics and authentic custom foot orthotics? If you are receiving authentic custom orthotic devices, a three-dimensional mold of your foot, using a laser scan or plaster of paris must be taken.

Walking or standing on a force plate can be used to evaluate some aspects of foot function, but a force plate cannot capture the 3-dimensional impressions of your feet that are necessary for best outcomes. Remember, a non-weightbearing cast or scan of your foot must be taken in order to manufacture a functional custom orthotic. If this does not occur, it cannot be a custom orthotic.

Arch Supports
These can be bought in chemists off-the-shelf and come in small medium and large. These do not control foot movement. They try to aid foot posture by blocking arch movement. This can cause as much trouble as the original problem. They work for some problems but usually are not appropriate for biomechanical conditions.

Rubber Insoles
There are some people selling ‘rubber orthotics’ at fairs and exhibitions and making extraordinary claims regarding foot mechanics and their ‘wonder product’. These are just very expensive arch supports.