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Orthotics Q & A

Break in Period | Proper FitNot all Orthotics are equal!

Not all Orthotics are the same!

As a Doctor and Orthotics Specialist, my goal is to ensure that Orthotics provide functional mobility and stability for adults and children alike!


Q: What is an Orthotic?

A: An orthotic is a precision made podiatric appliance designed to externally support the bones of the foot in the position needed for proper function and motion.  It is always prescribed and manufactured by a licensed doctor and an accredited Lab.

Q: Are you wearing an Arch Support or an Orthotic?

A: Arch Supports can be bought in most drugstores, shopping center retail stores, or from non-medical persons and technicians.  They are a mass produced product with added modifications.  They are not a medical device and they are not custom made by a licensed doctor.

Note: In most cases, only proper functional orthotics, prescribed and produced by a Doctor, are covered by your Extended Health Insurance coverage.

Q: Can I get Orthotics for my high heels?

A: No.  Due to the angle of the arch & last of the high heel shoe, no orthotic can provide stabilization.  Orthotics are meant to be worn in any flat shoes and up to approximately a 1½” heel.

The time you spend in high heels should be limited to activities such going to the theater or a restaurant and never for a day of shopping or extensive walking!

Note: Your lower extremities muscles shorten rapidly to positional function, such as wearing high heels.  Your calf muscles and hamstrings shorten as a result of wearing high heels routinely.  This changes your joint position and stride length when walking.  A proper stretching routine is essential to offset the results of wearing high heels.

Q: What is Plantar Fasciitis?

A: The Plantar Fascia attaches to the bottom of the heel and extends beneath the arch to the ball of the foot and toes.  It is an inelastic structure and cannot be stretched!  Any change in structure or function that blocks the motion of the forefoot causes increase traction on the plantar fascia.  Overloading the plantar fascia tears the periosteum (the tough connective tissue that covers bones) away from the heel.  This causes inflammation underneath the periosteum of the bone.  That hurts!!!

Q: Why does my heel hurt in the morning?

A: Microscopic tearing occurs during the day, but inflammation builds up during rest.  That is why the heel hurts most in the morning!

Q: What causes Plantar Fasciitis

A: Plantar Fasciitis is caused by increased traction on the plantar fascia because of changes in the forefoot and arch…and also…Poorly made Orthotics.

If an Orthotic shell (the rigid part) blocks joint motion at the ball of the foot, it can cause increased traction on the plantar fascia causing tearing of the periosteum of the heel.

Dr Steven D. Stark - Podiatry, Orthotics, Sports Medicine - Vancouver, White Rock