Foot orthotics are commonly used to treat a variety of foot disorders from overpronation and collapsed arches to plantar fasciitis and other causes of heel pain. The research evidence points too they are generally effective at helping most of the problems as long as they are indicated for that problem, Foot orthotics usually get used to support the foot, when support of the foot could have absolutely nothing to do with the problem that the person may have. This may lead to them being misused and wrongly blamed for treatment failures. The other problem is that there are many different types of foot orthotics and even within each type of foot orthotic, there is an practically infinite variance in the design features which might be incorporated into them. If even one of those design features is not really good for the individual, then the chances of that foot orthotic doing any good is potentially reduced. For this reason the choice of the different designs is really dependant on the expertise and experience of the podiatrist.
The podiatrist will determine the design features needed for the individual and if the device needs to be customized for the individual or if a pre-made cheaper foot orthotic can be used. With regards to custom made orthoses, the medical professional needs to take a plaster cast or optical scan of the foot kept in specific positions for the foot orthotic to be made on. When it comes to the design of the device different elements are considered. For example, if the patient has adult acquired flat foot, then something like a Cluffy Wedge type foot orthotic is required. The Cluffy wedge has unique modifications to handle the variety of problems that occur in that disorder. If the problem is related to a lack of impact absorption, then the orthotic has to be designed to cater to that. The range of options is endless and is dependent upon the condition present and the wishes of the treating medical professional.