Setting realistic patient expectations is a critical aspect of orthotic therapy and is often overlooked. You can improve your orthotic compliance, acceptance, and treatment success by educating your patients as to what they can realistically expect from orthotic therapy. For example, doctors should tell patients that orthoses are not a “cure” for plantar fasciitis; they are designed to reduce the tension on the plantar fascia to facilitate healing and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. In this situation, patients need to understand that orthoses are part of an overall treatment plan. This leads nicely into the necessary discussion of shoes (including shoe types that can irritate the condition, shoe fit with orthotics, etc.).
The patient should also understand that adjustments may be necessary after dispensing the orthoses. When informed ahead of time of the possibility, people tend to be accepting and understanding if the orthoses are not “perfect” immediately. The best orthotic therapy occurs when there is proper casting, a thoughtful prescription, quality lab work and good patient education.