An Overview On Orthotics In Physical Therapy

An Overview On Orthotics In Physical Therapy

Before using Orthotics one has to identify the range of motion, foot alignment, control of movement, muscle tone, and a person's functional level through their doctor or physical therapist. Orthotics provide stability and improved capacity and action by controlling a range of motion and position. Difficulty in moving due to any injury or illness? You might be given an orthotic by your physical therapist. It's an apparatus or appliance used to support, align, limit, or correct disfigurements or to recover the function of movable parts of the body. 

The most common area where orthotics are used is the shoe. People who over-pronate their feet use shoe orthotics. Pronation refers to feet that are flat and have lost the medial arch. If your foot turns in too much, stress can be placed on your lower extremities, leading to pain and difficulty walking and moving around correctly. 

It happens that sometimes weakness in your hip muscles goes hand in hand with foot pronation. It would be best if you corrected that pronation. Correction When your foot is over-pronated, your lower leg internally rotates inwards, leading to stress and strain on your knees. A physical therapist can assess your foot and determine if orthotics from your shoes are correct or not. 

What are the conditions when orthotics are suggested?

To alleviate foot pain and discomfort, we often ask our therapists if they can suggest an orthotic for us. Research has shown that orthotics are expansive and proven effective in reducing pain associated with your foot and ankle injuries. There are certain types of conditions when artificial support is being used.  Here are a few of them mentioned below:


Arthritis of foot pain causes some joints to become inflamed, painful, stiff, or swollen. Sometimes these symptoms can cause you discomfort when you sit or stand. With the help of orthotics, one can solve arthritis. If it's been placed in your shoes, it will take pressure from the affected joint in the foot, so you experience less pain or discomfort.


When you have inflammation in a fluid=filled sac, and it acts as a cushion to your joints, that is when bursitis occurs. The rash can also make it difficult to walk. You might be prescribed orthotics by your doctor to provide arch support. By wearing braces, the pressure of the bursa in your foot will decrease, and recurrence of bursitis can be reduced. As a result, you can walk snugly without any pain.

Diabetic Neuropathy

When the nerves are damaged by having high levels of blood sugar, conditions like diabetic neuropathy arise. It may cause tingling, weakness, or numbness in the foot. Your physical therapist will suggest custom-made orthotics that can provide support where you need it and reduce soreness issues. 

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the fibroid tissue that spreads across the bottom of your foot between your toes and heel. When you have swelling and tiny tears in the plantar fascia, plantar fasciitis develops. It can also cause when you wear tight footwear, too much weight on your foot, or sprain in the plantar fascia. Braces will help to support your feet and reduce the occurrence of plantar fasciitis.

Types of Orthotics

l  Dynamic Splint: 

A device that surrounds the joints to support it moves to align your joint while stretching a specific part of it. 

l  AFO

An orthotic device for the lower limb encloses the ankle and foot and does not extend above the knee. AFO is used for foot drop, where the anterior tibialis weakness prevents you from lifting your foot and toe-up off the floor.

l  Cervical Brace:

The cervical brace is a rigid plastic orthosis that encircles the neck and supports the head's chin and back.


Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis; an orthotic device for the lower limb that extends from above the knee to the ankle and foot.

l  LSO

Lumbosacral Orthosis is a spinal Orthosis that encircles in the body in the lumbosacral region. It is being used during spinal surgery or in treating low back pain from spinal stenosis. 

Your physical therapist may suggest orthotics to help align your body or support a joint or joints. After the injury, this can help you keep your mobility and function usually.


If you are undergoing an operation, your doctor may also ask you to use a knee brace, one type of orthotics. In surgeries like ACL reconstruction, your knee joint must be stabilized, and here, your doctor can suggest a knee brace. It would be great if you are aware of how to use it correctly. Similarly, different conditions have certain types of brace to be used.

Before using any orthotic, you must consult your doctor or a physical therapist about the need. If you are experiencing any pain or dysfunctional mobility limitation, your therapist may advise you to use orthotics after proper diagnosis. I would suggest you take it on a priority basis if suffering from any pain or discomfort, as delaying can cause any serious issues.

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