Services: Custom Orthotics

Person sitting on a dock wearing shoes with custom orthoticsLike the foundation of a house, your feet bear the weight of your body. Custom orthotics can support your feet, encourage healthy posture and walking biomechanics, and help prevent knee, hip and back pain.

We offer a streamlined approach to custom orthotics: a fast expert assessment, simple all-inclusive pricing, and quality custom orthotics manufactured by The Orthotic Group. Our services and orthotics are tax-free and are covered under most extended health plans. Our receipts also qualify as a tax deductible medical expense on your tax return.

Custom orthotics are offered at our Yonge and St. Clair and Danforth and Chester locations. We have evening hours and are open alternating Saturdays for your convenience.

Here’s how it works:

For $400 (tax-free) you will receive our complete orthotics service including assessment, one pair of custom orthotics, and a follow-up fitting visit. Your orthotics come with a standard 3-month patient compliance guarantee and a 6-month guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship.

An optional extended warranty can be purchased directly from the manufacturer if desired.

Your first visit

At your first visit our orthotics expert and Chiropractor Dr. Kelly Pennell will evaluate both your overall posture as well as your feet, to understand your specific needs. If custom orthotics could benefit you, Dr. Pennell will discuss your orthotic options, help you make a decision based on your intended usage, and take foam molds of your feet.

Custom manufacture

Your foot imprints, orthotic specifications, and other information will be sent to our custom orthotics manufacturer, The Orthotic Group, based out of Markham, Ontario.

The Orthotic Group has been manufacturing custom orthotics since 1985. They offer a range of orthotic materials and designs suitable for everyday use (dress or casual), specialized activities (sandals, running, court-based sports, etc.) and more. The Orthotic Group orthotics are made with high quality materials, are long-lasting and durable.

Your custom molds will be kept on file for two years. This makes any additional purchases or warranty replacements fast and easy.

Your follow-up visit

At your follow-up visit you will receive your custom orthotics. Dr. Pennell will confirm that they are the appropriate fit, and will make any final modifications required to fit your shoes.

In order to satisfy the requirements of any extended health care coverage that you may have, you will also receive a biomechanical report that includes the clinical indications for your orthotics, as well as proof of manufacturing including details of the orthotic materials used.

What are custom orthotics?

Custom orthotics look a lot like the shoe insoles or pre-manufactured foot orthotics that you can find for sale in stores, and like these products, custom orthotics can help reduce foot fatigue and discomfort. However, custom orthotics are also designed to do much more, and last much longer.

Custom orthotics are just that, custom-made medical devices intended to correct the specific musculoskeletal imbalances of your feet. At their core they have a plastic body that helps redistribute pressure while standing and moving. This redistribution of pressure helps encourage proper bone, arch and joint alignment. They are also designed to suit your particular body weight, and intended usage. Compared with over-the-counter orthotics, custom orthotics are also better suited to patients who have problems with circulation or who have diabetes.

If you suffer from muscle imbalances, joint issues, plantar fasciitis or other painful conditions in your feet, a custom orthotic can help reduce your foot pain and discomfort, as well as pain in secondary locations such as the knee, hip, or back. A custom orthotic may also help prevent or halt progressive degenerative changes in foot arches, alignment, and even overall shape, such as that which occurs with the formation or progression of bunions or dropped metatarsal bones.

While at first orthotics can feel a little uncomfortable, after a couple of weeks your feet should get used to your new healthier foot position, and the custom orthotic should begin to feel very comfortable and supportive.

Do I need custom orthotics?

If you have poor foot biomechanics caused by a musculoskeletal imbalance in your feet, a custom orthotic may be helpful. The personalized fit of custom orthotics will optimally redistribute your body weight through your feet, and in doing so, help relieve pain and protect your feet against further deleterious changes.

Conditions that may benefit from custom orthotics include:

Foot Pain

Symptoms of a foot biomechanics issue can vary, but typically includes pain. Pain commonly occurs in the feet, usually in the arch, heel, or the toe joints, and can be associated with conditions including ‘bunions’, metatarsalgia or plantar fasciitis.

Bunions

A bunion is an often painful bony bump on the base of your big toe, at the joint. Bunions are the result of progressive deforming changes in the position of the toe, sometimes hereditary, but often stemming from joint instability and muscle imbalances. Changes in hip, knee, and ankle joints can also contribute to the development of bunions, as can other conditions or injuries that affect a person’s gait pattern or ability to transmit a normal loading pattern into the foot.  This can lead to gradual changes in the position of bones of the foot or toes, which can cause a bony bump to form. Bunions can be extremely painful and can occur on the little toe as well.

Bunions are commonly treated by conservative interventions including: better and/or roomier footwear; use of store-bought or custom orthotics; physical therapy or chiropractic interventions including padding, taping/splinting, and exercise; and medication and icing for pain and inflammation. If these options fail, steroid injections and surgery may be warranted.

For some people, store-bought orthotics may be sufficient to redistribute pressures in the foot and relieve symptoms of a bunion. However, for many, generic orthotics are inadequate for their needs. The personalized fit of custom orthotics is often required to optimally redistribute foot pressure, relieve pain, slow or halt the progression of a bunion condition, and thus, adequately protect the affected joint(s).

Metatarsalgia

A sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot (the pad of your foot behind the toes) can be symptomatic of metatarsalgia, sometimes also known as “dropped metatarsal heads”. Usually patients with this condition experience an increase in pain with physical activity, especially when barefoot, and sometimes describe it as feeling like walking on a painful pebble. Numbness and tingling in the toes can also result.

The metatarsals are five long bones that connect your toes to the larger bones at the middle of the foot. Any pain under the metatarsal ‘heads’ (the ends of the bones where they connect with the toes) is referred to generically as ‘metatarsalgia’.

The cause of metatarsalgia can vary, and likely arises due to a combination of factors. Risk factors for the condition include: intensive running and jumping (especially on hard surfaces or in bare feet), inappropriate footwear, wearing high-heels, injury, obesity, bunions, and congenital factors such as having high foot arches or a longer than normal second toe.

Acute cases of metatarsalgia can often be treated simply. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications will help, as will more supportive footwear with arch support and shock-absorbing padding. Store-bought metatarsal pads or arch support insoles may also be beneficial.

Use of custom orthotics for metatarsalgia can be very effective at both relieving pain and preventing recurrence. A custom orthotic will help minimize stress on the metatarsals by effectively supporting the arches of the foot, and optimally redistributing body weight throughout the feet.

Plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia is essentially a sheet of connective tissue stretching from the ball of your foot to the back of your heel. The plantar fascia helps maintain the shape of your foot’s longitudinal arch and protect your foot from injury.

As you walk or stand, your bodyweight presses down through the arches of your foot. This downward pressure acts to (partially) flatten your arch while tilting your foot inwards (also known as pronation). The plantar fascia resists these deforming motions, helping to maintain the shape of your foot with body weight pressures in standing and walking.  In some circumstances these intensive and repetitive pressures on the plantar fascia can create small tears in it, usually at the heel, which results in inflammation and pain characteristic of plantar fasciitis.  Boney changes such as bone spurs can occur at the heel bone due to the inflammation and damage, which can be further painful and complicating.

Pain due to plantar fasciitis usually appears in the heel and/or arch and midfoot. Although causes can vary, the condition frequently arises in people who expose their feet to stresses that they are not acclimatized to, such as: intensive physical activity, rapid weight gain, walking barefoot, prolonged standing on a hard surface, or wearing footwear with little (or incorrect) arch support. Obesity, arthritis, leg or foot injuries and muscle weakness can also contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis can become a tenacious condition in part because it is very difficult to rest your feet to allow time for healing. In fact, the inflammation combined with the ongoing repetitive stress of standing and walking can lead to additional tears or bone spurs.

Plantar fasciitis can be treated through conservative means including: use of supportive footwear with better cushioning and arch support; orthotics; and physical therapy or chiropractic interventions to help mobilize stiff joints in the foot, develop a stretching and strengthening program, improve motor patterning in gait and exercise, and reduce inflammation. If conservative treatments fail to work, in some cases steroid injections or surgical options may be considered.

The benefit of orthotics for plantar fasciitis is that they can support the arch of the foot and correct over-pronation, thereby reducing the pressure on the plantar fascia and help prevent further injury/tearing. Custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis provide more optimal arch support than store-bought alternatives since they are custom molded to your feet, and designed to suit your body weight and intended use. This means that they can more effectively redistribute your body weight in a safe way, and aide in faster recovery.

Pain in other regions of the body

In addition to foot pain, leg, knee, hip, back, and even neck pain can result from poor foot mechanics and the postural compensations that result.

Do you have a question, or wonder if custom orthotics are right for you?

Please feel free to call our front desk or email Dr. Pennell directly at: [email protected].