Orthotics is a field of orthopedic medicine focused in the design, production and application of orthopedic supportive devices called orthoses. The use of orthoses or orthosis is beneficial in correcting and supporting the limb and maximizing its function. Examples of orthotics include braces, appliance and the like. Orthoses are made for various parts of the body such as the upper limbs, lower limbs, knee, and spine.

The uses of orthotics are varied such as:

To immobilize the affected part to prevent further trauma
To assist in range of motion of the joint
To restrict movement in a specific direction
To reduce tension on the underlying muscles and bones
To help in the rehabilitation of fractures
To correct bone deformities
To assist the body part in over-all function.

The primary use of orthotics is to mechanically compensate for the underlying condition of the patient and aid in movement. Orthotics of the feet has been very widely used nowadays because of a lot of foot injuries sustained by athletes and other people who engage in high impact activities involving the feet. Other shoe inserts are also called orthotics.

Conditions that are relieved and managed by orthotics for feet include plantar fasciitis, shin splints, knee pain, heel spurs, corns, calluses, bunions and other foot problems. Orthotics for the lower limbs and the feet aid in stabilizing the gait, reduce pain and correct foot deformities. Foot orthotics includes:

Shoe inserts

These are especially designed to fit the shoes on the insole to support the foot during activities. These are commonly used by athletes.

Ankle -foot orthosis

AFO or ankle-foot orthoses are special braces that support the ankles and part of the foot. Unlike shoe inserts, these are externally applied and primarily work by controlling foot and ankle movements that are affected by spinal cord injury, peripheral neuropathy, muscular dystrophy and stroke. These can also be used to support flaccid foot and prevent foot drop, thereby it is commonly called as foot drop brace. Ankle-foot orthoses are the most commonly used foot orthoses. AFOs are L-shaped, wherein the upright portion is placed under the calf and fastened in place with a strap. The lower portion is placed under the foot and also secured in place. These may be worn inside accommodating shoes. AFOs can be rigid or flexible. Rigid AFOs have continuous L-shaped structure, while flexible AFOs have open areas on the ankle to allow dorsiflexion of the foot.

Knee-ankle-foot orthosis

This type of orthosis gives support to the knees, ankle and foot for more extensive foot injuries. KAFOs limit the joint motion including the coronal, sagittal and axial joint motions. Conditions that use KAFOs include leg fracture, paralysis, arthritis, and deformities of the knees, ankles and foot that affect the gait and ambulation. These devices allow people with paralysis to be able to walk optimally.

Dr. Mohr, your Tampa chiropractor, can give you a full in-person assessment to identify if and which inserts you need, as well as providing advice on brands and styles. So if you’re having foot troubles and are anywhere near New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, North Tampa or the surrounding areas, come in and he’ll have you walking better than ever.

Foot orthoses are made up of plastics, metals, fabrics or leather. The type of orthoses to be used depends on the suggestion of the physician and would be required to use until the foot has fully recovered. For severe cases such as paralysis, orthoses of the foot are used indefinitely.