Pre-fabricated vs. Custom-fabricated Products
Anyone can purchase mass-produced, over-the-counter foot orthoses, just as anyone can purchase a non-prescription pain reliever, and the buyer decides when, where, how and how long to use the product.
By contrast, a custom-fabricated foot orthosis or foot-and-ankle orthosis is intended to fit a particular foot, for a particular purpose. Custom foot orthoses and foot-and-ankle orthoses come in two categories: customized, which means mass-produced with features that will adapt to one person, and custom-made, which means created especially for one person and made from a cast of that person's foot. Both kinds work properly only for that one person.
Custom made Orthosis is made and delivered in 3 stages:
1- Molding you foot: This is a specialized process that needs to be done professionally to manufacture the orthosis correctly and suitable for your feet.
2- Fabrication: Material and workmanship is the key to having the right orthosis that fits and supports your feet effectively and comfortably.
3- Right fit in the shoes: The orthosis must be examined, inserted in the shoes and tried for the best fit. In most cases adjustments are needed for best results. The facility must have special equipment for adjustments and modifications.
What Does a Foot Orthosis Look Like?Appearance depends on the job the orthosis is expected to perform. It can be short or long, thin or thick, made of one material or make of several materials combined. It can be rigid, semi-rigid or flexible, and it can come in a variety of colors.
Why Does a Foot Orthosis Depend on the Shoe?It's the shoe that holds the orthosis in the proper place on the foot. Shoes can maximize the value of an orthosis, or limit it. (Although orthoses are made to move from shoe to shoe, they don't perform the same in all shoes.) Because an orthosis takes up room that would otherwise be available for the foot, not all shoe types are suitable for an orthosis. Many of today's shoes, however, are manufactured with a removable inlay, which is the "bed” on which the foot rests. When the inlay is removed, there is typically sufficient room to replace it with an orthosis.
To accomplish its prescribed goal, a foot orthosis must partner with a shoe. Maintenance of both the shoe and the orthosis is important. The credentialed pedorthist can monitor each component's continuing effectiveness, and alert both patient and doctor when a need for change approaches.
Patients may be eligible through health insurance for partial or full reimbursement for footwear prescribed to accommodate or alleviate medical conditions.