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Foot Care: Why a custom foot orthotic may be the right fit for you

Just about anyone who feels they need some type of additional support for walking or running is a good candidate for orthotics, especially if you are seeking immediate pain relief or looking to prevent a wide variety of common foot problems.

Orthotics can help restore your ability to walk, run, and jump by reducing pain and swelling while also increasing the stability of unstable joints and providing better arch support. They can also ease problems in other parts of the body, such as the back and hips

These orthopedic devices are made of lightweight materials that range in complexity from simple shoe inserts bought over-the-counter to custom-made devices that require impressions, casting, and computer technology to create.

A plaster mold of a patient's foot to be used for the creation of a custom orthotic.

A plaster mold of a patient’s foot to be used for the creation of a custom orthotic.

Over-the-counter orthotics can serve the needs of some people adequately, but in many cases a custom-made orthotic is required for optimal pain relief. It’s important to remember that over-the-counter orthotics are made for a very general foot type while a custom orthotic is specifically made to match the contours of your feet precisely and designed for the way you move.

The quality and durability of the materials, coupled with the custom molding process, contributes to a higher price tag for custom orthotics, but their durability and comfort often outweigh the cost. Like most things in life, when purchasing orthotics, you get what you pay for.

Unlike its over-the-counter cohort, a custom-made orthotic can only be manufactured after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, so the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, uses biomechanical analysis and joint movement testing to assess whether or not a patient is in need of a custom-made orthotic.

By utilizing a dynamic walking scan analysis, Dr. Goldbaum is able to create a holistic picture of the forces acting on your feet and throughout your body as well as pressure distribution and foot motion as you move. Additionally, a static analysis assessment of your feet and posture is done while you are standing motionless to provide Dr Goldbaum with information regarding your weight distribution and forces going through different regions of your feet.

“You want something with shock absorption properties,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “From heel strike all the way through gait, we’re able to offload the areas of pain. We do that with a fabricated orthotic, making an actual plaster cast of your foot to get the perfect fit.”

In some cases, a heat-molded orthotic may be prescribed instead of the plaster casting. This decision is based off Dr. Goldbaum’s diagnosis after having examined X-rays and scans while also taking into account direct patient feedback.

Dr. Goldbaum assisting in the creation of a plaster mold.

Dr. Goldbaum assisting in the creation of a plaster mold.

“We don’t do orthotics on a first visit,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “When we do a cast, we typically try some orthopedic padding and strapping first as well as some injectibles. If the pain is still persisting after a couple visits, that’s when we craft an orthotic.”

Once it is decided that an orthotic is right for you, the casting process will take roughly 20-30 minutes with the final product taking anywhere from a few days to three weeks to complete. At Delray Beach Podiatry, these orthotics are built to last and can often be easily adjusted over the years.

“They’re going to last anywhere from 5-20 years if the patient’s foot doesn’t change,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who notes that 98 percent of his patients have been satisfied with their custom orthotics. “We also give our patients the cast so they can craft future orthotics without additional casting fees.”

Only a podiatrist can tell if custom made orthotics are right for your feet, but most patients notice an immediate difference in comfort and stability, and their pain is sharply reduced or eliminated.

If you feel discomfort when you walk, you should seek help from a podiatrist, a foot and ankle surgeon, or some other type of foot specialist.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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