Custom orthotics are made to help correct any misalignments in the foot, improve a person's posture, or alleviate any pain in the foot or leg. They are either inserted in a shoe or integrated into the shoe's design so that they become a part of the shoe's sole. Custom Orthotics differ from inserts that you can buy at any store because they are specially made to conform to the unique shape of an individual's foot.
Doctors and other health care professionals order custom orthotics after they have obtained a cast of a person's foot. The cast is created by taking an impression of the feet, one at a time. There are different kinds of casts, but a common one looks like a box that has enough room for only one foot. A person places his or her bare foot into the box, making the malleable surface conform. After the foot is lifted out of the box, the unique shape of the person's foot becomes evident. The molds are sent to a company where a laboratory uses techniques that will help stabilize the foot and correct any problems. Within weeks, the completed custom orthotics are delivered. They are usually made out of rubber materials that are quite stable. Some have added padding, depending on the person's weight.
At first, when custom orthotics are worn, they do not feel like they fit well, but after at least a week of use, they conform to the person's foot and feel comfortable. People see positive results within months of consistent use. Custom orthotics can be created for almost any type of shoe, whether high-heeled or flat, as long as they can fit inside. Some shoes are too shallow for the orthotics, so it is important when purchasing shoes to slip the custom orthotics in them to determine if they can be worn comfortably.