This article was written by Chelsea Komar, a McMaster University PT student working on placement with Paulette Gardiner Millar.
In What are orthotics & who can they help? we talked about how orthotics are an effective preventative measure for correcting foot problems and how they can provide support and correct abnormalities that occur in the body due to poor foot biomechanics. And in our post Off-the-Shelf or Custom-Made? Which type of orthotic is right for me? we take a closer look at the difference between off-the-shelf and custom-made orthotics. But there are still many questions to consider when it comes to orthotics. Today we’re answering three questions that we are frequently asked about orthotics.
Should I be investing in custom-made orthotics if my child is still growing?
When a child is growing, the majority of the growth within the foot occurs in the long bones, rather than in the heel and cuneiform bones where the orthotic part is related. Therefore, even if your child’s shoe size increases, the orthotic will not have to be changed. The orthotic can last a couple of years through growth, which makes investing in custom orthotics for your child a good option.
Once I get new orthotics, should I wear them all the time?
Breaking in orthotics is like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You don’t need to wear your orthotics day in day out, if you don’t want. You can either wear them all the time, if they alleviate symptoms and feel amazing, or break them using them for shorter periods of time and taking them out when your muscles get sore. However, if they do not feel right after 3-4 weeks, we recommend to get them adjusted as they might not be supporting your feet in the way they should.
What’s the difference between full-length and mid-length orthotics and which one should I get?
Referring back to the fact that the orthotic part is located under the heel and cuneiform bones, full length and mid length orthotics are equally as effective. Full length orthotics are normally recommended for a uniform fit and to minimize the movement within the shoe, but it ultimately depends on your preference. If you have tight-fitting shoes, mid length orthotics might be the better choice.
Overall, orthotics might look similar and the prices might not make sense at first glance, but they are all unique. Patient preference is very important to consider. It’s important that your orthotics are chosen or made specifically for your feet and your needs, to get that Goldilocks fit.
If you’re interested in learning more about orthotics, or if you think an orthotic would be beneficial to you, our clinicians are here to help you. Find a pt Health clinic near you!
1. Orthotics 101 pt Health by Paul Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wdzZxKoUVc&feature=youtu.be
2. Physiotherapist explains drugstore vs custom orthotics pt Health by Paul Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0xqESeFXyA&feature=youtu.be