Welcome to your new custom orthotics
Thank you for purchasing your new custom orthotics from Ace Health Centre. Here’s all of the information you will need about them. It details how your custom orthotics are prescribed, designed, manufactured, and what to expect.
Did you know it takes your podiatrist over an hour of extra work after your consult to finish your orthotics?
How your orthotics are prescribed
Your orthotics are prescribed from a mix of –
- your injury
- your flexibility
- your posture
- your alignment in your feet, knees hips and back
- your weight
- your shoes
- your sport or activity
- your medical history such as being diabetic
- your blood flow to your feet
- your nerves and feeling in your feet
- your balance
- history of other injuries
- muscle strength
- corns or callous
- and more…
Orthotics prescription and design
When prescribing orthotics there are many different things that a podiatrist can do design-wise. The prescription itself will be determined from the assessment.
Your podiatrist will then have done a 3D scan of your feet. The 3D scan provides a base model of your feet giving them your base arch heights, foot length and widths.
The custom orthotics are then designed via computer software by your podiatrist after the consult. It takes a lot of time and practice to be able to use compete software to design up an orthotic to know how it will end up after being 3D printed. The software helps aid with consistency of the product being produced and is far more accurate than other methods of orthotic manufacture.
Every podiatrist will prescribe slightly different meaning you could go to 10 different podiatrists and get 10 different orthotics designs and prescriptions. The goal though will always be the same. The main difference is that many podiatrists get other companies to do computer design for them. At Ace, we do all of the computer design ourselves. Did you know Mike, our podiatrist does design work for other podiatry clinics around Australia as well in his spare time?
Once your orthotics have been designed by computer the file is then sent to a 3D printer. The 3D printer is an industrial-size printer that prints around 30-50 sets of orthotics in one go. It cannot just print singles. It prints by laying down layers of very fine powder in microns and then heats the powder to fuse it in specific places. The printing process takes around 24-36 hours in total. The orthotics are then removed from the printer, sandblasted to remove any excess powder, and then washed. The orthotics are printed using an HP MJF 4200 using PA11 nylon material. This material is also eco-friendly and 3D printing minimises waste material.
Once the 3D-printed shell has arrived back at the clinic it’s time to cover the orthotics. This is all done via your podiatrist by hand. The covers that your orthotics will is decided by your podiatrist from your consultation. This is determined by factors such as – your activity, the shoes you will wear them in, your weight, your medical history, your injury and more. There are many different materials available. Covers on orthotics can be replaced if you ever want to give your orthotics a little TLC.
Once the orthotics have been completed, our reception team will give you a call to arrange a fitting appointment. Your orthotics are always made slightly big for your shoes and require trimming up to ensure a good fit.
It’s important to remember that your orthotics are only as good as the shoes they are being put into. This means that although putting them into flat soft or flexible shoes will be much better than nothing at all, fitting them into a good supportive stable shoe will give much better results. Your podiatrist should have discussed footwear with you in the consult and possibly given you recommendations for shoes that your custom orthotics will work best in.
If you do require new shoes we recommended purchasing them before your fitting appointment. This way your podiatrist can check the fitting of the shoes, make sure the shoe is correct, and fit the orthotics into the shoes.
When fitting an enclosed lace-up shoe we usually recommended fitting them by – putting both shoes on, lacing the shoes up properly, standing up, and having a fingers width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. We also suggest being able to pick a small amount of fabric across the widest part of your forefoot. This ensures that the orthotics will fit the shoes, and will provide a more comfortable experience. It is always best to go shoe shopping at the end of the day when your feet are maximally swollen and expanded. This will give you a much better idea of fit and comfort.
For people that do spend a lot of time on their feet, it is sometimes beneficial to purchase 2 pairs of shoes and alternate them daily. The foam in the soles of shoes can take 24 – 48 hours to fully recover and expand back out. This means that having that rest day helps them last longer, maintaining more support and cushioning.
Shoes do have a lifespan. If you are in your shoes for 8 hours per day we recommended getting new shoes every 6-8 months. Just because the top looks ok doesn’t mean the foam is. We also recommended replacing shoes after having them for 1.5 years as the foam and glues in the shoes start to degrade. This means the shoes will not provide the same support and cushion as they once did when new.
Your orthotics may not fit every shoe but may be able to fit between shoes that are the same size. Just take out the original insole that is in your shoe and replace it with your custom orthotics
What to expect
Everybody is very different in the way their body reacts to orthotics. The orthotics as often designed to hold/guide your feet in a certain position. This means that different muscles will be used while wearing them. These muscles can take time to adjust. For that reason, we ask you to pay attention to your body. Aches or pains for up to the first 4 weeks are normal. If you experience this we suggest taking the orthotics out, putting the original insoles from the shoes back in, and then starting to use the orthotics again the next day.
After the fitting appointment, we book you for a 3-4 week orthotics review. This review session is to see how you are getting on with them. Making sure you are happy, they are comfortable, and they are doing their job. If there are any issues at this stage the orthotics can be modified when needed. Things such as arch heights, cushioning, support, flexibility and more can be changed. Just like anything custom it can be changed and modified as needed. For the first 3 months reviews are done without any out-of-pocket cost.
If you are experiencing issues where you are not able to wear your custom orthotics due to pain we recommended calling up for a review appointment and coming in sooner.
We recommended having your orthotics reviewed every 12 months. This is due to changes within your body that may affect your orthotics prescription. This can be anything from strength, flexibility sensation, blood flow and more. You may also have a new injury or issues that the orthotic needs to be aimed at that may require a change in prescription again. Your orthotic shell may also become more flexible over time meaning it will provide less support. These changes may mean an update in your orthotics prescription.