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Although commonly called orthotics, the correct term for these supportive devices is orthosis. An orthosis is an external device used to modify or correct a musculoskeletal problem. The most common version is a type of shoe insert, but an orthosis might also include an ankle or lower leg brace. An orthosis can be designed to correct a chronic problem like overly flat arches, cushion an area of the foot, restrict movement or help in rehabilitation after an injury. Although sometimes called orthotics, the soft insoles sold over-the-counter are shoe inserts and provide only cushioning.
A true prescription orthotic is designed specifically to provide support and comfort for the patient's feet. Prescription orthotics can be functional or accomodative. The first type are used to control abnormal motion or correct a problem like excessively flat arches, a difference in leg length or injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis. Accomodative orthotics are designed primarily for cushion and support, and might be used for something like a painful callus.
Orthotics can be used to treat a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions. Plantar fasciitis, for example, is inflammation of the broad band of tissue on the bottom of the foot. An orthotic can support and cushion the plantar fascia while it heals. Orthotics can help correct problems such as bursitis, tendinitis and foot, ankle or heel pain due to injuries, weakness of the supporting structures or overuse. Orthotics may also be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers.
When feet need a little extra cushioning or support, an over-the-counter shoe insert may be all that's needed. However, serious or chronic pain, or ankle instability will probably need a careful assessment and a custom-fitted orthosis or other solution. Since podiatrists are trained specifically in the biomechanics of the lower extremities, they are uniquely positioned to assess, diagnosis and treat problems that may require an orthotic. They can also provide both medical and surgical management as necessary.
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"I can't thank you enough for the quality of care, as well as the improvement with the foot injection! You are a rock star!"
"Dr. Hurst was very kind and extremely knowledgeable when it came to my foot pain. I would recommend that if you are in pain, go see Dr Hurst and his wonderful team."
"You're treated like an old friend right down to the hug you get. Most importantly, the results seem to be working."
"Dr. Hurst is truly a Specialist in his field and I would not ever again consider anyone else taking care of my foot problems."