Custom Orthotics for Big Toe Arthritis

Updated 9/18/2018
Cathleen discusses how orthotics have made her feet (and Life) significantly better..

Custom molded orthotics are often an effective part of our  treatment plans for those suffering from big toe arthritis (also known as Hallux Rigidus).


To some, orthotics may seem amazing because something so small can be so effective. While others (who tend to be, shall we say, more skeptical) often think they are simply a way to increase profits.


But in reality, decades of research shows us just how valuable they are in the treatment of significant foot issues.

Custom Orthotics in the Treatment of Big Toe Arthritis (Hallux Rigidus)

Orthotics are custom-made inserts that slip into your existing shoes. They do not require use of special orthopedic shoes. They can be rigid or flexible, full-length or partial-length, and many different modifications can be added that are specific to your foot or ankle problem.

Since many foot and ankle conditions are caused by poor foot position or alignment, they can be dramatically improved with the use of custom orthotics.

But conditions that are caused by injury, heredity or simply bad luck are often equally helped by custom orthotics.

Now, this is not to say that custom orthotics can correct a condition like Hallux Rigidus or Bunions, as they most certainly cannot. But that does not make them any less valuable since they can often reduce the pain and symptoms of the condition. And that can have huge value if you buy into our philosophy of trying to avoid surgery whenever possible because custom orthotics often delay or, at times, prevent the need for surgery.

You will also find that orthotics are almost always used post surgery to help control the now corrected foot's amount of motion, protecting the joints while standing, walking and even running.


Many athletes use custom orthotics to improve their performance and endurance. Athletes demand so much from their feet and ankles and even the slightest imbalance in their feet makes them prone to injury. Custom orthotics can reduce the need for muscles to compensate for such imbalances, improving muscle function and decreasing fatigue.


How Our Custom Orthotics Are Different From "Over-the-Counter" Shoe Inserts?

Over-the-counter shoe inserts are designed to fit the average foot, not the unique contours of your foot, and while they may provide some support they are not designed to treat your specific conditions.


UFAI's foot and ankle specialists carefully examine the patients feet as they walk and, if appropriate, run. Every situation and every foot requires a different amount of control and positioning and every foot has a unique arch and foot type. For these reasons, custom orthotics are significantly more effective than over-the-counter type shoe inserts.  


Will Custom Orthotics Fit In All Shoes?

There are several different types of orthotics, those for athletic shoes to very thin orthotics used for dress shoes.  Often patient wll get two pair made, one for athletic shoes and another for word or dress shoes. While orthotics work in most shoes, they will not work in flip-flops, or any shoe where the heel is able to rise off of it while walking.


How Are Custom Orthotics Made?

Custom Orthotics Los Angeles, University Foot and Ankle Institute

We take great pride and expend a lot of energy in making our custom orthotics nothing less than exceptional.


To create a great orthotic we first take a careful impression of your foot in a neutral position with a plaster molding technique. The UFAI podiatrists have found this to be the most reliable and sensitive technique in orthotic manufacturing.  The mold is then sent to our lab for fabrication with specific accommodations and support customized to each patients needs.  


The patient will return to the office to be fitted with the orthotics in their shoes. Another gait analysis will be performed to be certain the orthotics are performing the desired effect. There will be an initial break in period during the first week but after “getting used to the orthotics,” we recommend using them in all shoes in which they will fit.  Patients keep the orthotic molds at home just in case additional orthotics are needed or wanted.  Want to order another pair, no problem, just bring the molds and we simply sent to our lab without us needing to take new impressions.


Custom Foot and Ankle Braces

There are instances when more extensive bracing is required to accommodate a deformity or injury of the tendon, ankle or foot bone. These custom-made braces properly position foot and ankle joints that can relieve symptoms and reduce risk of further damage.  The added support a brace offers may also help reduce your chance of injury during sports activities.  The custom braces can be for temporary or for long-term use.


UFAI's Culture and Approach to Medicine Is Different, Even for Custom Orthotics

All of the University Foot and Ankle Institute locations specialize in creating and fitting custom orthotics. We always work hard to provide expert knowledge in the most friendly, professional and comfortable environment possible.  Request an appointment with a UFAI podiatrist at any of our Southern California locations including Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Santa Barbara, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, West Hills, Simi Valley and, Valencia.


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