What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts that are intended to correct biomechanical abnormalities in the foot and ankle, i.e., bone alignment. Orthotics are not just “arch supports,” although some people use those words to describe them. They perform functions that make standing, walking, running, and other sports activity more comfortable and efficient by correcting the angles at which the foot strikes a walking or running surface.
Dr. Steinberg prescribes orthotics as a conservative approach to solving many foot problems (plantar fasciitis, ankle pain, bunion pain, etc.) or as a method of biomechanical control for certain types of feet after surgery; there use is a highly successful, practical treatment form.
Orthotics take various forms and are constructed of various materials. All are directed at improving foot function and minimizing stress forces that could ultimately cause foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back deformity and pain.
Dr. Steinberg concentrates on prescription functional foot orthotics, something only doctors of podiatric medicine are fully trained to do. Patients beware: A number of other ancillary practioners (chiropractors, physical therapists and pedorthists) are claiming they can do the same thing, but in truth, their training and knowledge is very limited. Prescription functional foot orthotic therapy is a podiatric specialty.
Dr. Steinberg is a purist. He will only use plaster-of-Paris for taking foot molds. He has seen the results of orthotics made from foam box molds and from computer scans of the bottom of the foot, and he feels that both these short-cut methods fail to capture accurate shape or precise alignment.
Orthotics for Specific Sports
The biomechanical requirements of various activities are very different. For instance: Dress shoe orthotics cannot work for running. Running orthotics cannot work for a cycling shoe. Orthotics for tennis are different then for running. Running orthotics will not work in ski boots or skates. It is important to Dr. Steinberg that the orthotic meets the demands of your specific activities, and he understands those needs. He is a runner, cyclist and skier himself.
Orthotics for Ski Boots
Dr. Steinberg has a special passion for skiing. He is currently a certified ski instructor teaching at Wilmot Mountain, WI, and is a former Vail Ski School instructor. He is a current member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Rocky Mountain and Central Divisions. He has, over the past 30 years, become internationally recognized as a expert in solving ski boot fitting problems, making precise ski boot orthotics, and performing stance analysis and alignment between the foot, the boot, the binding, the ski, and ultimately the snow, giving the skier that snow-feel, comfort and warmth your ski instructor is always talking about.
Special Orthotics for Children
Too often, pediatricians miss foot and gait problems in children. If your child has flat feet, or appear knock-kneed or bow-legged, orthotics are highly effective in the treatment of children with these deformities. Dr. Steinberg recommends that children with such deformities be placed in orthotics soon after they start walking, to stabilize the foot and help keep the legs straight as they grow. The devices can be placed directly into a standard shoe or an athletic type shoe.
- Wear shoes that work well with your orthotics. Dr. Steinberg will recommend specific shoes for daily wear and athletic activity.
- Bring your orthotics with you whenever you purchase a new pair of shoes.
- Wear socks or stockings similar to those that you plan on wearing when you shop for new shoes.
- Return as directed for follow-up evaluation of the functioning of your orthotics. This is important for making certain that your feet and orthotics are functioning properly together.