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Frequently Asked Orthotics Questions

Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions regarding prescription foot orthotics. For further information on custom made foot orthoses, please consult our Foot Orthotics Solutions page.

For further questions or to make an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • What are foot orthoses?
    Foot orthoses are commonly known as prescription orthotics or arch supports. They are used to treat specific foot ailments. These supports are designed to be worn inside your footwear. They can reduce or eliminate discomfort and pain in your foot, ankle, knee, hip and back.
  • Why do I need foot orthoses?
    Conditions such as arthritis, plantar fasciitis, excessive callousing, or soft tissue degeneration can be treated with the use of foot orthoses. Insoles can be designed to accommodate (having a “cushioning effect”) or to be corrective (thus realigning the foot and ankle) to eliminate or control discomfort. Foot orthoses should be comfortable and easy to get used to.
  • What kind of footwear is most suitable?
    Your footwear is important in the function of your feet and successful healing of your foot condition. Poorly fitted shoes, or shoes with little or no support, will not accommodate your foot orthoses adequately. Appropriate footwear will have a rigid heel counter, low heel and strong construction with adequate room in the toe box. High heeled shoes and some sandals are not suitable.
  • What else should I know about my foot orthoses?
    When you are first fitted with your foot orthoses, they should be comfortable. However, there is often an adjustment period in which you become used to wearing them daily. You should give your foot orthoses adequate “break-in” time before requiring adjustments. A “break-in” period of two to three weeks is recommended. Our orthotist will instruct you on the “break-in” of foot orthoses and will provide you with written instructions. If your foot orthoses are uncomfortable or cause cramping, an adjustment will probably be required. You may find discomfort in your ankle, knee, hip or back when initially wearing your new foot orthoses. If this is occurring after three weeks, you should make an appointment to have our orthotist check the orthotic fitting. There is no charge for any adjustments or follow-up.
  • How should I care for my foot orthoses?
    Your foot orthoses can be made from a selection of different types of material. Plastic orthoses can be washed with warm soapy water and dried with a towel. Porous materials should only be wiped with a damp cloth. DO NOT IMMERSE IN WATER OR DRY BY DIRECT HEAT (vents, dryers, etc.). This may change the shape or damage your foot orthoses.
  • Should I have an annual check-up?
    One year following the initial fitting of your foot orthoses we will send you a “reminder” card that will recommend you make an appointment to have an annual check-up. There is no charge for this appointment. At this time, any adjustments or repairs can be done. Usually solid plastic supports do not need repairing, but those supports with covers or visible pads may need to have them replaced. This will be discussed with you prior to any changes being made. Wear and tear may differ from person to person, depending upon use, activity level and weight of the wearer.
  • How long can I expect my foot orthoses to last?
    With normal wear and tear, most foot orthoses will last for a minimum of 18 months to indefinitely. Sometimes the condition is resolved and the orthoses are no longer required. Also, there are many different types of material used in the manufacture of foot orthoses which will affect their durability.
  • How are the foot orthoses made?
    There are usually three different ways of making foot orthoses. The orthotist may use a foam impression block, take a plaster cast of your feet, or use computer digitizing technology. Foot orthoses can be categorized into soft, semi-rigid or rigid. Soft insoles are very flexible and may be made out of neoprene, sorbothane, etc. Semi-rigid insoles are typically made out of closed-cell foams. Rigid insoles are hard and could be plastic, composite, etc. The type of measuring system and materials used to fabricate your foot orthoses will be determined following the assessment of your foot condition and a detailed biomechanical gait assessment.
  • Are orthoses and bracing covered under the B.C. Medical Services Plan?
    No. However, some types of children’s orthotic devices are considered a benefit with the Fair Pharmacare program. Our front desk staff is able to assist with applications for pre-approval with Pharmacare. Other funding agencies that may be approached for funding assistance include the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Children and Families, I.C.B.C., WorkSafe BC, Veterans’ Affairs, Non-Insured Health Benefits and many extended health care plans (depending upon the coverage). Our staff is able to assist with obtaining prior approvals from government agencies as required, and will assist with submission of your extended medical benefit claim, providing a quote and all required documentation.
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