A Closer Look at Orthoses

This mini-study serves to show the visual difference between an orthotic manufactured from a 3-dimensional foam cast versus a pressure pad versus a photocopy of the foot.

A: Custom-madeCustome made orthosis

The custom-made orthosis (red) was cast in 3-dimensions to capture the maximum available amount of arch. The orthotic shell was made to arch shape perfectly and it flexes with the person’s body weight.

B: Pressure PlatePressure Plate Orthosis

The pressure mat insert (black) used a “best-fit” computer-modeling program to select an insert from a library of pre-made shells based on the person’s foot length. The flexible plastic deforms under the patient’s body weight.

C: PhotocopyPhotocopy orthosis

The third company (beige) creates a colorized photocopy of the patient’s foot. At the lab workers glue prefabricated pads and heel wedges to a leather base. You can see how flat the insert is compared to the actual arch of this foot.

The point of this comparison is simply to illustrate how each system works and show the differences in the resulting orthotic.

If you want a true custom-made orthotic then you should know how one is made.

In addition, if you’re paying for a true custom-made orthotic (around $500), you should ensure that that is indeed what you’re paying for. There is nothing wrong with a Dr. Scholl’s prefabricated shoe insert, or its equivalent, just as long as it costs only $70.


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