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Tel: (905) 527-1225
Toll Free: 1-800-400-9203

A Guide to Orthotics

How Do I Know If I Need Orthotics?

It has been estimated that two thirds of the population, old and young alike, have arches that are either too high or too low.

Next time you get out of the shower, step onto a dry towel (blue is good) with your damp feet. Have a look at the prints. If it has a gentle curve from the ball to the heel, that's good. But if the curve is shallow or non-existent, then you have low or flat arches. If the curve is deep or the ball doesn't join up to the heel, then you have high arches.

Now look at your feet and ankles in the mirror. Do your ankles roll inward? Do your knees cave in? Do you develop callouses easily? Perhaps you have archor heel pain, bunions, sore ankles, shins or knees?

For some people, off-the-shelf store bought foot orthotics are fine. But if you can answer yes to several of the above questions, you may want to seek out the help of a highly trained professional.

Proper orthotics can eliminate these symptoms and correct the underlying cause in many cases. The result? Happy feet - and a happier you!

What happens When I See a Certified Orthotist at Advanced Orthodynamics?

At Advanced Orthodynamics all your work happens at your first appointment. It normally lasts for about an hour and you should bring a pair of comfortable shorts or a skirt with you. This allows our Orthotist Eric Bapty to visually see what's happening with the alignment of your legs and feet.

The Orthotist will take your medical history before physically examining your feet. He'll ask you what hurts and what doesn't, to stand on your toes and walk for him.

Next, Eric will ask you to walk over an ink pad to give a visual impression of the pressure points on the bottom of your feet.  Sometimes he will slip some paper thin sensors into your shoes and ask you to walk. These are connected to a computer program, called the F-Scan, which shows on screen the foot pressures in vivid colour. Either method allows Eric to interpret your style of walking.

By examining your feet and listening to your comments, our Orthotist will have the information he needs to recommend the proper foot orthotics for your needs. He may suggest semi-rigid foot orthotics for comfort and support, or rigid orthotics for re-aligning the bony structures of the feet and legs. He'll discuss your options with you. If you don't already have a doctor's prescription for foot orthotics, Eric will write a letter to your family physician outlining your needs and his recommendations.

The last thing you'll do before you leave is have your feet cast. Eric uses either a foam impression or hand casts your feet, depending on your needs.

Once that's done, it's time to schedule your appointment for fitting - in only a week's time. Advanced Orthodynamics is able to offer this quick turn around because the manufacture of your orthotics is done right on site by our trained orthotic technician, instead of being sent to an out-of-town labouratory elsewhere in Canada or the United States.

How Are my Orthotics Made?

The first step is to pour molding plaster into the foam impressions or the fibreglass casts created during your first appointment (called a negative) to make a positive plaster cast.

Once the plaster has set hard the negative is stripped off and discarded. Next comes the most important part when the Orthotist sculpts the plaster into the shape marked on the cast. Once the Orthotist is satisfied with the shape, the plaster is sanded to a smooth finish.

A small oven is heated to 180C into which an appropriate size sheet of foam or plastic is placed. While it is heating up, the cast is covered with a nylon stocking and placed on a vacuum stand.

The foam or plastic is then carefully draped over the cast and stretched to form a seal. Then the vacuum is applied, pulling the material into close contact with the positive cast. It is then left to cool overnight.

The next morning, the plastic is cut off the plaster cast, and the nylon stocking stripped out.

In the final stage the orthotic is ground to the desired finish. The Orthotist pencils the trim line with a china marker and the technician uses it as a guide for finishing. Two different grades of sanding cones are used to produce the smooth finish.

From the time the casts enter the workshop until the orthotics are ready for your next visit, about 6 hours of technical time has been involved.

How Long Until I Receive My Orthotics? What Follow-up Can I Expect?

You are fit with your new orthotics usually a week after your first visit. Orthotist Eric Bapty makes sure that the orthotics are doing what they should, and that you understand what you need to do in order to realize the maximum results. This may entail several follow-up visits to make adjustments. Eric also likes to see you in after six months has passed to ensure you're happy with the results. It's all part of the service we offer.