Orthotics – Uses – Materials and Manufacture

By Walkrite Foot Clinic June 24, 2016

A specialty in the medical field which is concerned with the manufacture, application, and design of the orthoses is called orthotics. An orthosis is a device which is used to modify the functional and structural characteristics of the skeletal and neuromuscular system. This externally applied device is used by an orthotist who is a medical clinician in the primary level responsible for the management, manufacture, and prescription of orthoses.

A heel insert is an orthotic device which is available at your sporting goods store or local pharmacy. An individually designed, custom-molded shoe insert or an ankle brace can also be used as an orthotic device. These devices are very often used to treat several conditions of the ankle or foot. Common complaints can be relieved generally by them.


  • For particular purposes, it can reduce weight bearing forces.
  • The device may be used to restrict the movement in a, particularly given direction.
  • It can limit, guide, control and immobilize a joint, an extremity or segment of the body for a particular reason.
  • Generally to assist the movement.
  • After removal of the cast, it can aid rehabilitation from fractures.
  • Used to correct the function and shape of the body.
  • Reduces pain and provides the capability for easier movement.
  • Supports and aligns the foot ankle.
  • Improves the overall functioning of the ankle or foot.
  • Corrects or prevents foot deformities.

For instance, if in case a wedge is inserted into the inner sole of the shoe which can use to support a flat boot, it will reduce the risk of tendinitis. An ankle foot brace is used to relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle or heel. To prevent ankle sprains and to increase support, a heel flare is used. These heel cushions will help relieve stress and absorb impact on the ankle and heel when you run. The symptoms, shape of your feet and the cause of symptoms are thoroughly checked by the doctor before deciding the type of orthosis needed for the patient.

Orthotics combines the knowledge of pathophysiology, engineering, biomechanics, and anatomy and physiology. A condition like cerebral palsy or spina bifida will be benefited by the patients and will also experience a stroke or spinal cord injury. Orthoses are used to optimize performance in sport.

Materials and Manufacture:

The manufacture was traditionally done by tracing the extremity with measurements to create a well fitting device. The advent of plastics was taken into consideration as the material to construct the idea of creating a plaster of Paris mold of the body. Throughout the industry, this method is still considered the best method in these situations. But now, CNC machines, CAD/CAM, and 3D printing are included in the manufacture of orthotics.

Orthotics make use of different types of materials like carbon fiber, fabric, metals, EVA, and thermoplastics for its production purpose. Over – the – counter is a type of braces which is available in multiple sizes and is a basic product. Generally, they are strapped on with velcro and are held firmly in place. The most basic purpose of this product is for injury protection.


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