The Secret to How Custom-Made Orthotics Really Work

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The Secret to How Custom-Made Orthotics Really Work

If you’re new to the world of custom made orthotics, the process can seem understandably complex. The technology that goes into personalizing an orthotic device to exactly meet your needs is one that includes several precise steps – each performed by a dedicated team of experts.

Fortunately, the professionals behind making shoe orthotics and other types of orthotics in Arkansas have gotten the process down to a science. From taking measurements to assessing the final fitting, the technology behind customized orthotics at Horton’s is a fascinating process.

Evaluation and Assessment

During the assessment period, the orthotics team will go over your medical history and lifestyle needs, do a hands-on evaluation, and take your measurements. For example, if you have been recommended for a foot-ankle orthosis, your professional might study foot alignment and bone structure, as well as the range-of-motion and relative strength of both ankles. You’ll also be asked to walk so that the team can analyze your gait.

After the evaluation period, your orthotics professionals recommend a specific type of device or alternative treatment options, while discussing the pros and cons of each.

Casting Process

The exact orthotic casting process used will depend on what kind of corrective device you need, as well as the technology your orthotics team prefers. The two main types for foot orthotics are:

  • Weight-bearing: As the term implies, this kind of casting is taken while the patient is standing, in order to build the orthotic around the shape your foot takes while standing. A foam box method may be used, or a scanning machine may take 3-D imaging.
  • Non-weight-bearing: This type of casting usually takes place while the patient is reclining. The mold is cast around the foot, using the plaster of Paris “slipper” method.

Each type of casting has its advantages and disadvantages. The weight-bearing method yields a better indication of the shape of your feet while standing and walking, but random movements that can happen during the casting process sometimes leads to imprecise measurements. The opposite pros and cons are involved in the non-weight-bearing casting process.


Technicians hand-build your orthotic using the mold made from your casting session. The process will vary depending on the materials used for the particular orthotic. These can involve a range of plastics, foams and other materials, including those used for straps and fasteners.

Final Fitting

Once your orthotic is ready, your next appointment will involve helping you put it on (or insert it into your footwear), then assessing the fit. You’ll probably be asked to stand, or walk and move around. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to evaluate whether the orthotic is meeting your needs, or if it needs adjustment.

If you are needing a custom-made device such as ankle foot orthotics in Arkansas, we can help you understand any of the correctional devices which may have been recommended to you, from shoe inserts to leg braces and upper-body devices. Contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics at (501)683-8889 for a consultation with our professionals today.