burnaby foot orthotics

OTS Foot Orthotics

Off-the-Shelf (OTS) foot orthotics come in many types and sizes. It can become quite confusing when deciding which ones are right for you! Here is a simple breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of common OTS foot orthotics to better guide your decisions.

The most common types of OTS foot orthotics are gel pads. These can be bought at pharmacies and athletic stores and their primary function is shock absorption. Analogous to suspensions on a mountain bike, the gel layer absorbs the normal force by dissipating the forces throughout the material. This results in lower peak pressures on the plantar surface of the foot, thus reducing impact when the foot strikes the ground. This type of orthotic is comfortable and maybe the simple solution to acute foot problems. Conversely, gel foot orthotics lack any type of support as the entire orthotic is soft and flexible. To summarize, gel foot orthotics are great for comfort and reducing pressures but provides minimal support for the arches and other structures of the foot.

Another common type of OTS foot orthotic is thermal plastics. These are light-weight, heat-moldable orthotics that retain some rigidity while being semi-flexible. There are also some OTS orthotics advertised as "wear-moldable". These orthotics are perfect for people who may require a little more support for their arches but not enough to warrant a full custom orthotic. It is also common for an active clients to have a pair of these orthotics in gym shoes or basketball shoes; only using them when doing activities that may bring on discomfort in the feet. In general, this type of orthotics is more supportive than gel pads and is better suited for people who experience minor, intermittent foot problems.

There are also OTS foot orthotics that target specifically the ball of the feet. This type of orthotic is not as rigid as thermal plastics and not as soft as gel pads. What's different about this type is the notable metatarsal pad that is located just before the ball of the feet. This semi-rigid cushion supports the transverse arch of the foot and this may be a simple and effective solution for people who experience sharp pains in the ball of their feet as well as  aches from prolonged standing.

Off-the-shelf foot orthotics is an economical solution to treat simple foot problems. If you experience any type of aches and discomfort in your feet, there is an orthotic solution for your needs!


Welcome to our Blog!!!

These blog posts will discuss a variety of topics pertinent to the field of orthotics, breast prosthetics, lymphedema and compression. The content within will be our opinions on issues in the field and concerns we come upon on a daily basis. We carry a wide range of products and the business of orthotics, breast prosthetics and compression is always evolving.  With this in mind we will discuss numerous topics which we feel are timely and pertinent to our readers.

Foot Orthotics

When our business was first established in 1992 the field of foot orthotics was largely one where every prescribed item was made from a plaster (negative) cast of the foot.  This cast was then filled with plaster and modified which created a positive mold. Material was then heated and formed to create the custom device for the client. This technique is still widely used, but with the innovation of technology many extended benefits plans allow for impression foam boxes and 3D scanners to be used to create the negative cast.

As per Great West Life’s policy, “A 3D image is an acceptable cast when the laser or scanning system directly scans the patient's foot in a non-weight bearing position.”

Custom Knee Braces

Much has also changed with the manufacture of custom knee bracing. The gold standard used to be plaster or fiberglass casting but measurement technology has advanced now it is most common for custom knee braces to be made from an App or a specific measuring device.  These measurements are then used to create a positive mold via various CAD/CAM systems or similar.


If there is a specific topic you are interested in and would like us to research and add to our Blog we invite you to contact us via social media or info@burnabyorthopaedic.com and we will do our best to provide more information.

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