An orthotic is a device or appliance that is formed to fit a person's foot. Orthotics are designed on an individual basis and created to fit perfectly to the person's foot to eliminate any discomfort while supporting various structures. Orthotics are used when a structural abnormality begins to affect how the foot functions. By supporting the affected area, they can stabilize the foot and allow it to function as normally as possible without causing further injury. Orthotics can be very simple in design or they can be highly complex, depending on the nature of the abnormality or deformity.
Orthotics are designed to offer support to areas of the foot or ankle that may be compromised due to an injury, illness, or genetic abnormality that causes the foot to not function as it was naturally intended. Orthotics are form-fitted according to an individual's needs. A podiatrist will take measurements of the foot to determine the proper size and structure of the orthotic. This allows for a precise support that stabilizes the foot so that it can function as normally as possible. Orthotics can be used to help correct structural problems as well as prevent certain conditions from worsening.
For an orthotic to be made, the podiatrist must have accurate measurements of the foot and know exactly where the patient's problems begin. In some cases, molds of the foot will be taken to help provide the maximum amount of support for the affected areas. Because orthotics are designed on a personal basis, doctors will take great care in making sure all of the patient's issues are addressed. This can mean having shoes manufactured that have orthotics or lifts built in. In some cases, the orthotics are designed as removable devices that can be worn with different shoes or as braces when no shoes are being worn.