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Orthotics for Correction and Pain Relief

When treating a foot and ankle problem there are 2 options. We can either change the environment around the foot or change your foot. Otherwise Protection vs Correction. OK, the third option is to do nothing. If you are reading this or coming to my office, this is not really a choice. Our preference is to avoid “changing the foot”. Changing the foot means using a surgical procedure to fix the issue. Instead, we first try to “change the environment” using conservative treatment options. Being able to avoid surgery depends on the degree of injury and length of inflammation. Both of these factors determine the extent of damage. We have many different tools we use to achieve this goal. One of these tools is custom orthotics.

What Are Orthotics?

Simply put, orthotics are shoe inserts (low profile braces) that improve the way the foot works. Faulty biomechanics will lead to structural or mechanical problems. A foot that collapse inward (click the link to see the flat foot video) has the same effect as trying to hold a heavy bag of groceries with your arm extended far out to the side (click the link to see how this works) instead of close to your body

Custom Orthotics Program

We try to use conservative treatment whenever possible and appropriate. To that extent, we have created a Custom Orthotics Program to inform patients how custom orthotics may be an option to treat heel pain, bunions, and ankle pain.

custom orthotics next to a pair of shoes

 

Unfortunately, most of the over-the-counter inserts are glorified foam fillers. If you can fold an insert in half, they will have little mechanical control. There are a few OTC (Over the Counter) inserts that are solid enough to provide some control of the foot. If a foot only requires a small amount of correction, an OTC device may be helpful. These devices are not the same as orthotics prescribed by a doctor. Unfortunately, by the time a patient comes to see me they are usually past this stage.

Simply put, orthotics are shoe inserts (low profile braces) that improve the way the foot works. Faulty biomechanics will lead to structural or mechanical problems. A foot that collapse inward (click the link to see the flat foot video) has the same effect as trying to hold a heavy bag of groceries with our arm extended far out to the side (click the link to see how this works) instead of close to your body

Unfortunately, most of the over-the-counter inserts are glorified foam fillers. If you can fold an insert in half, they will have little mechanical control. There are a few OTC inserts featuring a solid component that can provide additional cushioning and minor arch support. If only a small amount of correction is needed this type of device may be helpful.  These devices are not the same as orthotics prescribed by an actual doctor. By the time a patient comes to see me we are usually past this stage.

Will Orthotics Work for Me?

Unfortunately, not everyone responds to orthotics. These devices are labor-intensive to make and are not inexpensive. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find out who will and who will not do well with Orthotics? That is exactly what we do. There is a test to see if Orthotics will be beneficial. We use athletic taping (also called strapping – not the Boomer type of strapping. OUCH!). This changes the way the foot works that is very similar to an orthotic. Typically, the taping is a 5-day trial, and changes are recorded in a taped diary. There is a certain percentage of improvement that indicates if biomechanical control is a good long-term option.

More aggressive bracing may be required if there is a severe collapsed foot. This is called Foot Ankle Orthosis. (AFO) is for the aggressive collapse of the foot and ankle.

What Do Orthotics Treat?

 

Does Insurance Cover Orthotics?

This can be like Russian roulette. Some insurance carriers understand orthotics prevent surgery. Others would rather pay for the surgery than an Orthotic. You will get a form that guides you through a conversation to have with your insurance carrier. Every insurance is different. Coverage can even vary with different policies within the same insurance plan. We will do our best to determine orthotic benefits but carriers are not obligated to give providers reliable information. Your insurance is required to give YOU arcuate information. If you find yourself spending 30-45 minutes waiting on hold – welcome to our world.

Warning Will Robinson…

If you hear the words “medical necessity”, assume it is not covered. If you hear “Orthotics are covered for diabetes” See FAQ video below

Decisions Decisions Decisions…

After we see how much improvement there is from the taping, we will discuss Orthotic therapy as well as other options. Although Orthotics may not be the only treatment they are a simple options with a very high success rate.

Of course, you have to actually come and see us first before knowing if this is part of your treatment plan! Contact our Indianapolis, IN office online or, even better, give us a call at (317) 545-0505 and our staff will be glad to answer any questions or help you schedule your appointment.

Address

9505 E. 59th St., Suite A
Indianapolis, IN 46216

Phone Number

(317) 545-0505

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