NCMA Foot and Ankle Center’s Ashleigh Korves, DPM, FASPS, explains how custom orthotics can improve your health, put a spring in your step and save you money over cheaper, store-bought insoles.
Read our frequently asked questions below.
What are custom orthotics?
Custom orthotics are custom medical devices designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. They look like insoles, but are biomechanical medical devices that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance. Orthotics are like eye glasses — they will bring your feet back into proper alignment to reduce abnormal stress and strain on your feet, ankles, legs, and even your back.
How are custom orthotics made?
First, Dr. Korves will evaluate your feet and determine if custom orthotics are appropriate for your feet. NCMA office staff will then check your insurance to verify insurance coverage and discuss your benefits with you. You will then be scanned for the orthotics utilizing state of the art technology. They take about 2–3 weeks to fabricate at which time you will return to the office for proper fitting in your shoes and discussion on usage.
Who needs custom orthotics?
Custom orthotics can help patients with a variety of lower extremities issues including, but not limited to, ball of foot pain from metatarsalgia and neuromas, bunions and hammertoes, arch and heel pain including plantar fasciitis, flat feet, arthritis, tendinitis including Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, and pains associated with the knees, hips, and back. Custom orthotics are for patients of all ages and can often help reduce the risk of injuries from alignment issues.
How often do I have to wear my custom orthotics?
The more you wear your orthotics, the more benefit you will get out of them. Orthotics will fit in most shoes, however, it is important you discuss your daily shoe gear with Dr. Korves so she can design the orthotic to best fit your activity and lifestyle. For example, if you wear dress shoes exclusively, you may require a dress style custom orthotic versus an athletic style. Dr. Korves can also discuss the possibility of making two pairs of orthotics — one for your gym shoes and one for your dress shoes.
Why are custom orthotics better than over-the-counter inserts?
Today you can find prefabricated, over-the-counter inserts in almost every drugstore. They come in different sizes, designs and even colors. They may be advertised for a walking or running or for specific foot condition such as “heel pain.” Some even require you to step on a “scanner” to determine your foot type.
Unfortunately, there is a risk your symptoms could worsen if you select the wrong device. They may cause a change in the mechanics of your stance or gait, causing more problems with your lower extremities. In addition, over-the-counter inserts are made of materials that often wear out quicker than custom orthotics, causing you to purchase multiple pairs throughout the year. To determine if over-the-counter inserts are satisfactory for your issues or if you require a customized orthotic, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Korves.
For more information about custom orthotics and how they may be right for your stride, contact:
NCMA Foot and Ankle Center
1701 Fourth Street, Suite 100
Santa Rosa, CA 95404