Orthotics General Information
It's not a term you hear every day, but it’s an important part of many patient's lives. Glenoaks Podiatry Group in Glendale, California specializes in orthotics, or the design and creation of devices to modify the neuromuscular and skeletal system. It's a unique specialty that requires a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology. By creating externally applied devices, the podiatrists at Glenoaks Podiatry Group improve the lives of their patients in many different ways. Call the office or book an appointment online to start the discussion of how orthotics can help you.
Orthotics Q & A
What is the orthotics service?
Orthotics is the evaluation and fabrication of customized orthoses or orthopedic braces. It’s a practice that requires a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, biomechanics, and engineering. The devices work to modify targeted characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal systems.
Technically, the development of orthotics extends to the whole body. In other words, there are custom devices made for back problems as well as devices made to treat sports injuries to major joint and other parts of the human body. At Glenoaks Podiatry Group, however; the focus is on your feet, ankles, and lower extremities. The doctors and staff construct orthoses to support the feet, for example, by designing a specialized insert that goes into your shoe to provide heel support. The doctors might construct a customized brace to stabilize the foot or ankle after surgery, as well.
How are these devices made?
It depends on the location and reason for the orthotics. No two patients are alike, so each one must be custom designed. Generally speaking, the process might look something like this:
- Patient assessment
- Foot and lower extremity assessment to understand the body and joint mechanics
- Analysis of postural alignment
- Plaster cast
- Cast sent to a lab
- Orthotic device fitted
Patient education is just as important as the device. The use of customized orthoses is usually accompanied by key stretches and exercises to help rehab the area.
Why use orthotics?
These devices provide support in a variety of ways. For example:
- They immobilize an extremity or joint
- They restrict movement in a specific direction
- The enhance some forms of movement
- They reduce weight-bearing forces
- They help rehabilitate fractures
- They correct the shape or function of a body region
The ultimate goal is to improve mobility and reduce pain.
What conditions require orthotics?
Orthotics are used in a variety of medical disciplines. At Glenoaks Podiatry Group, they might be part of the care plan for conditions like:
- Misalignment originating from the lower extremities or feet
- Ankle, foot, or knee pain management
- Plantar fasciitis
- Flat feet
- Degenerative joint disease
- Fracture or surgery rehabilitation
Any time the podiatrist thinks a supportive device can improve a patient’s condition, he will design a custom one based on that patient’s unique medical needs.