The orthotics are elements or devices that are used to correct and / or compensate for functional and morphological alterations of the foot , and sometimes the legs.
We understand by correcting : bringing the structures of the feet that have been altered to the most normal position possible, in this case by using external mechanisms such as orthopedic insoles. There will be correction when after some treatment guidelines, by eliminating this, the structures that were altered are now kept in the correct position .
Insoles for feet (flat, cavus, fasciitis, spur)
We understand by compensating : the mechanism by which the structures of the foot are kept in the physiological position during the time the insole is used. This means that once the orthopedic insole is removed from the shoe, the foot returns to its pathological position. Compensation is characteristic of adult patients in whom correction of the deformity will not be achieved .
It is important to underline that orthopedic insoles must be personalized treatments , performed individually for each patient, sometimes even different from one foot to another. Therefore, it is convenient to avoid all those orthopedic insoles that are acquired automatically, without any type of prescription from health professionals: podiatrists and orthopedists.
What are orthopedic insoles for?
Orthopedic insoles are used in childhood, when the child is developing, to correct functional and morphological alterations in the feet. For example: flat feet, pronated or supinated feet, the metatarsus adductus.
Using orthopedic insoles, an attempt will be made to bring the altered structures little by little to their normal position, and once this is achieved, the treatment will continue until the child completes its development.
It is important to note that to correct the structural deformities of the feet it is not necessary to place the foot in positions of excessive correction, such as, for example, with a flat foot , raising the arch or bridge of the foot excessively.
You simply have to get the foot to be in a physiological position and once there, maintain it.
In adults, orthotics have a totally different function. At this age, practically, alterations in the structure of the feet can no longer be corrected by using orthopedic insoles.
The importance now lies in the need to compensate for those alterations that exist and that modify the normal way of walking and cause pain, the appearance of corns and corns, progressive deformity of the feet, etc.
With orthopedic insoles the alteration in the way of walking will be compensated, trying to make it as physiological as possible.
The pressures that support the feet will be distributed in a uniform and balanced way to eliminate the pain that affects the feet, avoiding as far as possible the appearance of corns and calluses. Orthotic insoles will also help to stop progressive deformities that affect the feet, preventing them from going overboard.
How are orthotic insoles made?
Depending on what type of templates we are going to manufacture, we will use a specific technique and materials.
For example, in the case of element templates, the first thing that is prepared is the base of the template. To this, the different pieces will be added (arches, discharge bars, wedges, heel pieces …) as indicated by the design. Materials such as cork, rubber, latex, etc. are used to manufacture these bows and wedges. Finally, the upper lining is placed with a pleasant touch that will be in contact with the skin of the feet.
In the case of insoles made using the live technique, the first thing to do is to choose the material that we are going to use and especially the correct size (which must match that of the patient’s foot).
How orthotics are made
Next, all the parts of the insole are heated separately and joined at the moment of fitting them to the foot. Then the foot with the insole is introduced into a kind of bag where the vacuum is made with a special “aspirator” called a vacum. Finally, the template is modeled according to the necessary correction or compensation directly on the patient’s foot.
Thermoformed orthopedic insoles use thermoplastic materials for their manufacture. These materials allow them to be molded at very high temperatures and once they are cooled they retain the shape they have been given. For its elaboration it is necessary to start from a mold of the patient’s foot that is obtained by means of plaster bandages or a phenolic foam.
Once the mold is prepared it is rectified applying the necessary corrections and compensations. Once the mold is prepared, the materials are chosen, cut according to the specific size and heated in industrial ovens. Once heated, they are placed on the mold from the upper layer (which will be in contact with the foot) to the lower layer (lining to the base).
How the template works
It is important to know that the success of an orthopedic treatment with insoles does not only lie in the use of them. It is almost as important to accompany the treatment with insoles with suitable footwear. If the shoe that a person is wearing is not the correct one, even the best treatment, the best designed and manufactured insoles , can fail in our attempts to correct or alleviate painful symptoms in the feet.
For this reason, we must pay great attention to the footwear that we are going to use together with the orthopedic insoles.
Orthopedic insoles will act by exerting pressure from the bottom up on certain structures of the foot. These pressures are produced in a controlled way on specific areas of the foot by the different parts of the orthopedic insoles.
What are the best orthopedic insoles
In this way, it will be possible to correct the anomalous positions of certain structures of the foot , as long as these structures are not rigidly fixed or the development of the individual has concluded. In the case of using compensating orthopedic insoles, the pressures are exerted in specific regions or areas that allow us to discharge any overloads that may exist and distribute them over the entire surface of the foot.
In addition to the correct design of the templates , the material from which they are made is very important. Today there are large amounts of materials and they all have different properties. For example, there are differences regarding the hardness of the materials (even in the same type of material), differences regarding the existence or not of “memory” in the material, which will be the property that the material possesses to recover its original shape after exerting a deformity on it. Properties of absorbing pressures helping to dissipate them.
Types of templates
We can classify orthopedic insoles depending on:
- The materials that compose them.
- The function we want them to perform: corrective or compensatory.
- The way of manufacture.
- The age of the patients.
- The type of alteration or deformity that we are going to treat.
Doing a brief review in history we can see how there have been professionals who have “donated” their name to a type of orthopedic insoles. We have, for example, the Withmann supinator, which consisted of a metallic insole that had a very high arch, or the Lettermann insole, which was a kind of bag made of gutta-percha that was placed inside the shoe and molded when walking.
The cork templates, devised by Lefort, which were easier to work with. Later appeared latex, leather and thermoplastic materials for the manufacture of orthopedic insoles. With the technical advances it has been investigated in the creation of new materials with new and better properties.
Currently, the orthopedic insoles used are:
- Orthopedic insoles by elements : leather or pleasant materials are used as lining of the insoles while inside them materials such as cork or rubber are used to make the arches or wedges.
- Orthopedic insoles made using the “live” technique , which, as their name suggests, are made with special materials that allow us to work directly on the patient’s foot. These are usually materials that are heated to a temperature, applied and the insole is designed directly on the foot.
- Thermoformed orthopedic insoles on a plaster or resin mold. They will be those templates that for their elaboration require a previous mold of the patient’s foot. The mold is usually made either with plaster bandages or with a phenolic foam. This mold is designed, corrected and then molded on it with thermoplastic materials.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.