Frequently Asked Questions
What is an orthotic?
An orthotic is a custom made insert designed to correct biomechanical abnormalities through methods such as off loading pressure and correcting the individuals gait patterns. The result is relief or a decrease in pain allowing the individual to live a more active healthy lifestyle increasing the quality of life.
How do I know I have a foot problem
In most cases pain or excessive foot fatigue will alert you that you may have a foot problem. In the "normal" foot, moderate levels of activity do not cause sore or tired feet. Although overuse may cause foot fatigue, it rarely causes pain. If your foot problem persists after you have rested, consult your doctor. Putting even a normal foot into inappropriate shoes may cause foot problems. Painful corns, calluses and bunions may result from improper shoes. Our Clinicians can usually make you comfortable and educate you about proper footwear. Infants and youngsters may have foot problems that cause little or no pain. These are often first noticed by alert parents who see some abnormality of gait or foot structure. Early intervention may correct the problem or prevent it from progressing.
Why is the Performance Orthotics computer based system better than casting?
New research is showing casting of a foot in a non-weight bearing position to be an inexact science influenced by assessor error. The Performance Orthotics computer based system limits assessor error by measuring how your foot functions while you're weight bearing. We look at exactly where, when and how much weight is developing on your feet as you walk. This information allows us to create an orthotic to normalize foot function and proper off-load areas of excessive loading reducing your discomforts.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
We would advise you to bring your prescription from your physician if you have one, shorts or pants you can roll up above your knee, and insurance information if you have questions. If you have questions regarding your shoes you can bring them as well.
Is there a charge for the initial assessment?
The initial assessment is free of charge.
Are there any hidden costs other than the price of the orthotics?
There are no fees for the initial assessment, fitting and subsequent follow-ups.
After I purchased my new Custom Fitted Orthotics can I start wearing them all the time?
Depending on the patient’s age, body type and activity level, people adapt to change differently. We usually recommend gradually increasing wear-time with the orthotic at the beginning of treatment. Prescription orthotics are designed to correct your poor foot mechanics. When your feet are being re-aligned, it is better to do that gradually so you do not develop painful symptoms in other areas of the body such as the ankles, knees, hips and low back. The usual break in period for new custom orthotics would be to wear them for 1 hour the first day and then increase the amount of time wearing them by another hour each subsequent day until you can wear them all day comfortably. This process may take a few weeks and you may experience some discomfort temporarily during the break in period, but it should resolve itself within a few days.
How long will it take for my orthotics or shoes to be made?
It usually takes 1-2 weeks for orthotics to be made and 2-3 weeks for shoes to be made
How long will it be until I start to see results?
This will depend on each individual, and how their body responds. Some will notice immediate results, others it may take weeks, or months. Our clinicians will schedule follow-up appointments in order to monitor the patient’s progress. These follow-ups are always free of charge.
It has been 4 weeks and I still have pain. Why am I not feeling better?
You have been walking a certain way all your life. This alignment has been putting strain on your body for (X) number of years. It will take time for the joints to realign and the muscles to start functioning the correct way. Your body needs time to adjust and heal. Everyone progresses at a different rate.
Will my feet work perfectly without the orthotic after a period of time?
Orthotics are more like glasses than braces. They correct your foot's imperfections while you are wearing them. Once the orthotic is removed, your feet will go back to working their same old way. Prolonged use of an orthotic on a daily basis allows for the most benefit.
I have been pain free all my life, why is this just becoming a problem now?
Your body is constantly changing! And you are using it in different ways for different activities! Take your car for example, a ten year old car doesn’t often function the same as one fresh off the lot! And will usually require a lot more maintenance to keep it running smoothly!
Will Orthotics fit into all my shoes?
There are many styles of shoes available, each with a different lasts, toe box size, shape and width. It is important that the orthotic does not slide around or stretch the materials of the shoes creating a poor fit in that particular shoe style. Our orthotics can be made in a variety of styles and sizes. They can be designed to fit into your fashion shoes or to fit into runners, casual shoes and even skates. One orthotic may not properly fit into all your shoes so you may want to consider getting two pairs of orthotics at the onset.
How can I use them in sandals?
We carry a line of orthopedic sandals where the orthotics replace a removable footbed. If you have or would like to purchase a sandal with a similar removable footbed we can also create an orthopedic inlay for these sandals.
How long will the orthotics last for? How often should I have them rechecked?
Many factors such as body type, physical activity level, and type of physical activity will influence the life of your orthotics. Generally 2-3 years is a normal life span of an orthotic of someone of regular body type, and physical activity who wears their orthotics every day. You should have your orthotics checked every year to ensure your orthotics have not lost their rigidity or your prescription has not changed. If you're having an increase in symptoms they should be checked at that time
What if I do not currently have any foot pain? Should I still consider wearing them?
Orthotics are used regularly for patients who experience pain, however they are an excellent device that can provide preventative measures for future biomechanical issues that develop over time due to misalignment. Orthotics help to protect your knees, hips and back, not just your feet. Prevention goes a long way!
Does OHIP, and/or my extended health insurance cover the appointments and orthotics?
Assessments are free of charge! The majority of extended health care plans will cover custom made orthotics/shoes so some extent. Each individual will have different coverage depending on the insurance provider. The best advice is to contact your provider prior to your appointment therefore if any questions arise you can consult your clinician and move forward in an effective manner.
How do I submit my claim to get my money back?
It is best to check your coverage before your appointment with Performance Medical Group. Ask how much and what you are covered for. Also ask what is required for submission. (For example; a prescription from your family physician, or a prescription from a specialist such as a podiatrist) Your Performance Orthotics clinician will be able to help you with this as long as you can provide them with this information.
How can orthotics increase sports performance?
Athletes make demands on their feet not usually encountered in normal daily activity. By controlling the foot movement with custom fitted orthotics it maximizes the biomechanical function of not only your feet but also your legs and torso. The difference can be noticed by fewer injuries, increased agility and better balance.
What if I don’t like the orthotics after I get them?
Performance Medical Group guarantees its orthotic devices for quality, comfort, and overall effectiveness. We provide a 2 year warrantee and stand by our product 100%. Our clinicians provide regular follow-ups and if the patient’s condition still has showed no improvement and all possible modifications have been exhausted, the orthotics can be returned for a refund within 45 days (an administration fee does apply).
Are the orthotics made in Canada?
Yes, they are. Our manufacturing facility is located in Ajax, Ontario.
How young could a child start wearing orthotics?
Children as young a 2 years of age can start wearing orthotics, however, they should only be ordered at the request of the child’s Paediatrician/Family Physician. Children’s feet develop as they grow, and most children’s feet develop properly, however, some children’s foot structure causes them to fall, develop pain with walking/playing. Many children who start with orthotics at a young age develop enough over time so as not to need them later in life. Some of the following conditions could require orthotic therapy:
1. children who either intoe or out-toe
2. children who develop pain in their feet, ankles, knee’s or legs, especially with walking, general playing, or when active in sports (they may even wake up in the night crying due to pain)
3. children who are always tripping/falling or have a very awkward gait
5. significant misalignment of their lower body
6. very “abnormal wear” patterns on their shoes
Would Seniors benefit from orthotics or is it too late to help their feet?
Seniors definitely benefit from a custom fitted orthotic. Pain develops usually due to misalignment and over-use. The body can adapt to change at any age, and although an orthotic may not be able to undo “arthritis” for example, they can help re-align the joints and reduce mechanical strain. This does a lot to reduce inflammation due to improper biomechanics and can help slow down further “wear and tear” due to misalignment. They are also very effective even when foot deformities such as bunions, hammer toes, etc have developed. Custom fitted orthotics correct the foot imbalances improving their existing symptoms/conditions.
What are flat feet?
The human foot is a complicated structure, consisting of 26 bones, numerous joint, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Each set of feet are unique, but may share certain basic structural qualities. Flat feet are low arched and fairly common. Most flat feet are what Podiatrists term, pronated. Closer examination of the weight-bearing pronated foot reveals:
- Turning out of the heel bone away from the centre of the body
- Inward rotation of the leg
- Bulging of the inner aspect of the ankle
- Shifting of the forefoot outward from the heel
Flat feet may be the result of abnormality in the alignment of bones, excessive elasticity of the ligaments, muscle imbalance, or some combination of these. To complicate matters further, not all pronated feet appear flat and some feet which appear flat are not pronated. Flat feet may be severe and apparent at birth, these may require corrective treatment with plaster casts or surgery. More commonly flat (pronated) feet develop during youth, symptoms may develop anytime and some flat feet never become troublesome. They may run in families but there is no certainty they will develop.
Pronated feet alter the alignment of the foot, ankle, leg, pelvis, and lower back. Problems may develop at any level. The pronated foot is unstable. This results in excessive and abnormal motion across joints and may result in fatigue and strain - often describes as "tired feet". Long term consequences include: arthritis, bunions, heel spurs, Morton's neuroma and other deformities. Shin splints (pain in the muscles of the lower leg) may result from these muscles overworking in a attempt to compensate for foot instability.
Flat feet is a complex deformity which should be properly evaluated and treated. You may be recommended functional posted foot orthotics. These are special supports which help compensate for mechanical faults and allow your feet to function with improved efficiency. Orthotics relieve stress from compromised joints, ligaments and muscles. Deforming forces acting on the foot are diminished.
What causes sore feet?
Not all feet are created equal! Some feet seem to take much abuse without complaining, many are not so lucky. Some people have sore feet in spite of wearing comfortable shoes and only moderate levels of activity. Ill fitting or improper shoes may cause foot discomfort. However, the foot itself may be the problem.
The human foot contains 26 bones and numerous joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It is a complex structure which is not always ideally suited to weight-bearing and ambulation. We all have unique feet and place unique demands upon them. The average person takes about 5000 steps a day and walks 50,000 miles in a lifetime! Our lifestyle, what shoes we wear and how active we are, clearly affect our risk of foot problems. The young foot is more resilient and may easily recover from minor injuries. Wear and tear eventually take their toll and tissues loose there ability to fully recover. Hence, foot complaints become more prevalent as we age.
Your general health may adversely affect your feet. Some common examples are: diabetes, arthritis, poor circulation, stroke and osteoporosis. Obesity may adversely affect your feet. Some types of heel and arch problems are more prevalent among overweight persons.
All feet are different, but most fall into three basic types:
- "Normal" (Rectus) Foot - Structure and alignment of the foot are well configured for the demands of daily living. Excessive wear, exceptional demands or improper shoes can make this foot injured or painful.
- High Arched (Supinated) Pes Caves Foot - This type of foot is poor at absorbing shock. These people are prone to problems of the entire lower extremity and back. Such feet often develop severely clawed toes and extensive plantar calluses.
- Flat (Pronated) Pes Planes Feet - This is one of the more common problems. These people are prone to develop tired feet, arch strain, arthritis and various structural deformities.
Foot pain has a multitude of causes. Your podiatrist can assess your problem and treat it appropriately. If your foot problem has a mechanical origin, he or she may recommend functional foot orthotics. These are special supports that may compensate for structural problems, and eliminate or reduce discomfort.
What causes sweaty feet?
Excessive perspiration on the sole of the foot and between the toes (hyperhydrosis) is a common problem. In some cases it is related to mental stress and nervousness, especially in adolescents and young adults. Systemic diseases such as anemia and hyperthyroidism may be associated with hyperhydrosis. The excessive perspiration may be improved by:
- Foot soaks in warm water
- Wearing absorbent socks or hose (e.g.. cotton or wool)
- Avoiding synthetics such as nylon and orlon
- Changing socks or hose a few times during the day
- Wearing leather shoes and avoid those made of synthetics
- Apply an antiperspirant preparation containing 15 - 25% aluminum chloride (e.g. Drysol®)
- Using an absorbent foot powder
Stubborn cases may be treated by your podiatrist with prescription medications. Substances which contain or convert into nontoxic doses of formaldehyde are often employed.
What causes foot odor?
Foot odor (bromhydrosis) is caused by the bacterial decomposition of normal secretions of the sweat glands. We all have a "garden" of bacteria which normally live on our skin. People with excessive foot perspiration are predisposed to this problem. Treatment is usually aimed at control of the sweating. Foot soaks in a solution containing a mild antibacterial agent may be helpful.
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