Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic

Mikol Anderson, DPM

Podiatrist Foot & Ankle Surgeon located in Salt Lake City, UT

Orthotics are prescribed orthopedic devices that are often an important part of your foot and ankle care. They fit the exact contours of your foot while they improve balance, absorb shock, correct movement, reduce pain, or meet other specific needs. At Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic, skilled podiatrist Mikol Anderson, DPM, prescribes custom orthotics to help you walk, heal, and feel better. Call the Salt Lake City, Utah, office or book an appointment online.

Orthotics Q & A

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are prescription corrective devices for your feet. They correct problems and help you walk normally. There are three main options for orthotics. 

Soft orthotics

Soft orthotics offer cushioning. They closely resemble ordinary shoe inserts, with the notable difference that they're made for your individual foot. Dr. Anderson may prescribe soft orthotics if you have diabetic foot ulcers, arthritis joint deformity, hammertoe, or another foot deformity. 

Rigid orthotics

Rigid orthotics are hard, with no cushion. They regulate movement very effectively, so Dr. Anderson may prescribe rigid orthotics for chronic foot, leg, ankle, or back pain caused by abnormal movement.

Semi-rigid orthotics

Semirigid orthotics are a hybrid of soft and rigid orthotics. They offer a small amount of cushioning and also guide optimal foot movement. Semi-rigid orthotics often treat issues like flatfoot or intoeing in kids. Athletes often wear semi-rigid orthotics to optimize performance. 

If you need orthotics, Dr. Anderson shows you all of the options and recommends the one that’s best for your lifestyle. 

What is an ankle foot orthosis (AFO)?

An AFO includes both an orthotic that fits in your shoe and a brace that goes around your lower leg. AFOs control ankle position, correct irregular ankle movement, and lend support to a weak or unstable ankle. 

Dr. Anderson may recommend an AFO if you have arthritis, peripheral nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), a muscle function disorder such as drop foot, or if you’re recovering from a stroke. 

Are drugstore shoe inserts as good as orthotics?

Not even close. At most, shoe inserts you see at the drugstore can offer you some extra cushioning and possibly relieve mild foot pain temporarily.  

Drugstore shoe inserts aren’t made for you, so they can’t really work for your individual issues. Before ordering your custom orthotics, Dr. Anderson performs a comprehensive evaluation, assessing the way you stand, walk, and move around. 

He takes 3D images of your feet and then uses these pictures and a set of highly precise measurements to design the ideal orthotics for your foot and your foot issues. Drugstore shoe inserts just can’t compare because they’re not a prescription treatment like orthotics.

How long do custom orthotics last?

Longevity can vary with material, as soft materials degrade faster than hard orthotic materials like carbon fiber or rigid plastic. But, in general, your custom orthotics can last for years if you look after them properly. 

Want to learn more about custom orthotics? Call Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic or click on the online appointment tool today.