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Orthotics

Many foot and ankle problems can be treated without surgery using an orthotic insert or a brace. An orthotic is a device placed in the shoe that externally modifies structure and function in order to minimize pain and correct deformity. Our Foot & Ankle specialists use the Footmaxx Gait Analysis system in order to make the best possible individualized custom orthotic for patients. Unlike traditional orthotic construction that takes a static foot mold, our physicians use a dynamic digital scan of a patient in the act of walking in order to make the most accurate orthotic. Off-the-shelf inserts can certainly be tried first, but when patients have a specific problem, the orthotic must be customized to be most effective. Custom orthotics can also be made for specific shoes, sport activity, and foot type. The individual patient scan is easily done during an office visit and the custom orthotic will arrive within 10 -15 days.

Dr. Thomas Guglielmo, a board-certified Podiatrist specializing in medical and surgical foot care for adults and children, is also pleased to see patients for custom orthotics in our New Milford office.

Braces

Custom braces are sometimes needed to correct foot and ankle deformities. An off-the-shelf brace is often not strong enough to address certain problems (ankle instability, posterior tibial tendon insufficiency). Patients are scheduled for a specific appointment to have a mold taken of their ankle and foot. The best brace type is chosen for the patient's individual problem and the mold is used to make the best possible brace for the patient. Most braces arrive within 2 weeks.

Please call our office to make an appointment and start the process for your custom orthotic or bracing treatment.


Custom Orthotics & Bracing Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Custom Orthotics Work?

Custom orthotics are medical devices that you insert into your footwear to support your feet, ankles, and legs as you walk, exercise, or move throughout your day. They are tailored to your feet and medical condition, and provide support by correcting incorrect body alignment, an irregular gait, or abnormal walking style. They are also made specifically for your foot, gait, height, size, weight, and medical condition.

What Conditions do Custom Orthotics Treat?

Custom orthotics are used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Flat feet
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Neuroma
  • Foot, ankle, and heel pain


Orthotics also act as shock absorbers to help prevent stress and injury, leading to healthier joints over the long run.

Are Custom Orthotics Necessary?

Custom orthotics are necessary if you have a persistent problem in a specific area of the foot or ankle. For general heel pain, over-the-counter orthotics may do the trick. You might also consider investing in properly fitting shoes specific to your activity level before investing in custom orthotics.

How Long Do Custom Orthotics Usually Last?

While most physicians recommend getting your orthotic evaluated every year, the lifespan depends on a few factors such as the orthotic material, your weight, and activity level. Custom orthotics have been known to last over five years in some cases.

Do Orthotics Weaken Your Feet?

It’s a common misperception that orthotics can weaken your feet. Not true! Properly made custom orthotics may actually help you strengthen your muscles and lower extremity limbs because the orthotics reduce or eliminate pain and allow you to exercise.

Should Orthotics Be Worn All the Time?

Your doctor will guide you as to how to use your orthotics. Whether or not you wear them all the time depends on your medical condition. When you first begin wearing orthotics, you may need to wear them regularly to acclimate your feet to them. Many people, however, only need to wear orthotics while doing exercise or high-impact activities like running or jumping.

Can Orthotics Make Things Worse?

Ill-fitting orthotics can lead to problems. If your orthotics do not fit properly, they can cause stress to the joints and muscles in your ankles and legs, which may make the problem worse. Having orthotics designed specifically for your foot shape should eliminate fit problems and ensure they provide the correction that’s needed.

Do My Orthotics Require Special Care?

Orthotics require special care to ensure long lasting wear. Here are a few tips to help maintain your orthotics:

  • Use covers to protect them
  • Clear debris from your shoes regularly
  • Dry the orthotics when your shoes get wet
  • Clean your orthotics regularly, especially if you do not wear socks with your shoes
  • Take care when transferring your orthotics between shoes 
  • Keep pets away from them


Can a Problem in My Feet Contribute to Pain in My Back and Neck?

Almost any issue you’re experiencing in your feet can contribute to pain in your back, neck, and legs. Because the entire body is connected and alignment is important, problems in the feet can easily be felt in other parts of your body. 

What Are Leg Braces For?

Leg braces are medical devices that immobilize a joint in your leg, restrict movement, assist movement, provide weight-bearing support, or correct the shape of your body.

What are Common Conditions that Require Splints or Braces?

Splints and braces are extremely useful tools to help with recovery of orthopedic issues.  These include:

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Shin splints
  • Bowed legs
  • Knock knees
  • ACL surgery
  • Worn cartilage
  • Ligament tears
  • Ankle fractures
  • Posture problems


How Long Does it Take to Get Leg Braces?

Custom braces provide essential support or immobilization for joints affected by surgery or orthopedic conditions. Each custom brace is molded to fit your unique body structure, and no two braces are exactly alike. Leg braces require a physician’s prescription and custom products may take a couple of weeks to receive, while a generic brace may arrive more quickly.

What are Foot Braces?

Similar to a leg brace, foot braces are used to treat chronic and acute foot conditions. They provide support and reduce pressure on your joints and muscles. Foot braces are often combined as foot-ankle braces that support the entire foot and ankle.

What Kind of Brace is Good for a Foot Drop?

A foot drop, also known as “drop foot”, is when you have difficulty lifting the front of your foot. This can cause you to drag your feet as you walk. While not a disease, foot drop can signify an underlying problem that is neurological, muscular, or anatomical.

A foot drop brace, which is specifically made for this condition, works by keeping the front of your foot angled upwards as you walk, essentially restricting movement and holding your foot in a normal position.