Orthotics Calgary

Custom Orthotics in Calgary

Associate Foot Specialists provides custom orthotics in Calgary. Prescription foot orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts designed for the individual wearer. They are medical devices designed to correct biomechanical imbalances, allowing for normal function and alignment of the foot. An orthotic is designed to control the mechanics of the foot to a precise degree—from the heel contact phase of walking through the midstance and toe-off phases.

Orthotics can help to alleviate and control a number of foot problems, including heel and arch pain, plantar fasciitis, flat feet and bunions, posterior tendonitis, shin splints, metatarsalgia, and neuromas to name a few. Their use is often prescribed as a highly successful, practical, and conservative approach to many foot problems. These custom prescription orthotics require a three-dimensional impression of your foot, or a casting method. This is different from what may be called a ‘custom’ orthotic, which uses computerized pressure information to make adjustments to a pre-manufactured insole. Our office uses a neutral suspension non-weight bearing plaster cast method where in essence, a 3-D mold of your foot is made as a template for the orthotics.

Our laboratory provider for custom orthotics is Paris Orthotics, out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Following a casting appointment, the plaster mold of your foot will be sent along with the doctor’s prescription in order to make a pair of orthotics specially designed to help your feet. Functional foot orthotics are very effective at alleviating many painful pathologies of the foot.

All Orthotics are NOT created equal

Many different kinds of in-shoe devices are referred to as orthotics. You’ll see orthotics in TV infomercials, stands at consumer shows and in a growing number of retail shops. Arch supports and insoles sold in drug, sports, and shoe stores are increasingly referred to as orthotics. There are also the orthotics that foot health care specialists and related professionals prescribed for their patients.

For most consumers, telling the difference between the various types of orthotics and making an informed decision is a challenge. Recognizing a slick sales spin and separating it from the facts can be even more challenging. The following is some information that may help.


There are three common types of foot orthotics:
Custom, Customized, and Off-the-Shelf.

  • Custom foot orthoses are prescription medical devices designed to adjust and control the functions of the foot and its alignment with the lower leg. They are prescribed to address injury-causing motions including excessive pronation (collapsing-in) and supination (rolling-out) and make standing, walking and running more efficient. Some custom foot orthoses are designed to redistribute the pressure on the bottom of the foot in order to alleviate pain from corns, calluses or bony prominences.Genuine, custom foot orthoses are made by starting with a thorough exam by a qualified healthcare professional. Following the exam, the practitioner will take impressions of you feet (plaster or impression foam) and complete a detailed prescription form. Your casts and prescription form are then sent to a Professional Lab where your orthoses are made by technicians with appropriate training and qualifications.
  • Customized devices are relatively new in the market and can be difficult to distinguish from genuine custom foot orthoses. They are commonly a product of computerized pressure platform systems that capture and display pressure information and are typically made by modifying and/or adding components to a pre-manufactured insole. Unfortunately, they are often marketed as “custom” and sold at similar prices. One way to tell the difference between custom and customized devices is if a plaster cast or foam impression is not taken of your feet, you won’t be getting genuine custom orthoses. Walking or standing on a pressure mat with a colourful graphic display is an excellent way to evaluate some aspects of foot function and pressure distribution. In qualified hands, pressure mapping can be a useful clinical evaluation tool but the technology does not capture true, three-dimensional impressions of your feet. Beware of the slick sales “spin”. If there is not cast, it isn’t custom.
  • Off-the-Shelf devices are commonly found in retail drug, sports and shoe stores as well as some specialty shops. Some foot health care professionals recommend them for minor foot problems. They rarely cost more the $35.00-$50.00 and the better quality ones can provide a good measure of support and cushioning. Popular brands sold in Canada include, Spenco®, Superfeet®, and Sole®.


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