1. What are orthotics and how do they work?
The term “orthotics” refers to any device that is intended to correct posture of any body part. Foot orthotics are designed to be worn inside of shoes/sneakers to provide correction, or therapy, to your foot, or, sometimes, to another affected body part (knee, hip, etc).
2. What are the advantages of custom orthotics?
Once you have experienced some change in your normal foot posture, or architecture, and you or your doctor feel that it is necessary to return your foot to its previous posture and in a desired position, then some sort of orthotic device is crucial. As a first step, some people use over-the-counter orthotic inserts. These generic arch supports may work to some degree; however, they cannot exactly conform to your foot’s shape (since they were not made to your exact specifications). Since they cannot exactly conform to the shape of your foot, they cannot hold you in a complete manner, thereby not fully maximizing their benefit.
3. Hard orthotics or soft?
Orthotics can be made from many materials – from very soft to rigid plastic or graphite (at one point, they were even made from metal). For many years, the prevailing wisdom was that the harder the orthotic, the more corrective it would be. In the past 25 years, however, this prevailing wisdom has been shown to be irrelevant. Instead, it has been consistently demonstrated that if you make a device that truly matches the shape of your foot; and, you put that device in an appropriate shoe, then you will receive all of the correction needed (in addition to increased comfort) – regardless of the absolute hardness of the device.
4. How long do orthotics last?
Typically, this answer depends upon you – frequency of use; body weight; shoe types; types of activity – all can affect longevity. You should visually check your orthotics at least once a year and you should expect between 2 – 4 years of use (depending upon factors above). After that point, the orthotics are still valuable, since they may be able to be re-furbished (instead of being discarded). We are happy to re-furbish any orthotics made by us. In this manner, they will cost considerably less than a new pair and you can continue to enjoy their use for additional years.
5. How do I get started?
We offer a free consultation and evaluation, which includes a meeting with our Pedorthist, Spencer Weisbond. This meeting (about 20 minutes) will include measurements, observation of your posture, evaluation of your stance and gait and a discussion about your shoes/sneakers. If you decide to proceed, Spencer will cast your feet at that point, which will take another 20 minutes. Appointments are available Mon – Fri, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (sorry, no week-ends) and can be scheduled by calling 212 265-3463. Your orthotics will be ready in 2 ½ weeks.
6. What about health insurance?
Unfortunately, orthotics are seldom covered by most insurance plans; and, we do not accept direct payments from insurance providers. If this is an important issue, then you should call your provider in advance and discuss this with them. We are happy to provide you with a detailed receipt that might be useful for re-imbursement, depending upon your individual circumstances.
7. What are pedorthics and what is a pedorthist?
Pedorthics is the science and practice of evaluating, fabricating and delivering footwear and/or foot orthoses to prevent or to improve painful or disabling conditions of the foot or ankle caused by disease, congenital defect, overuse or injury.
A Pedorthist is a professional who has been specially trained and certified to devise and employ supportive devices to address conditions affecting the feet and lower limbs. Spencer Weisbond, C. Ped, is a board-certified, state-approved Pedorthist, with over 20 years of experience in the field.