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The Problem with “Make to Match” Orthotics

The Problem with “Make to Match” Orthotics

This week we had a client send in a pair of old orthotics from another lab along with a pair of casts and ask us to make an orthotic that is “make to match.” This situation always makes us nervous because it is almost always doomed to failure.

It made correctly, functional foot orthoses are designed to decrease stress on tissue that is being overstressed in order to treat pain or other pathologic conditions. In most cases, there is not one exact shape that will do the “best” job at decreasing tension on a particular structure. Your goal when prescribing orthoses should be providing devices that adequately reduce stress on overstressed tissue and are comfortable for the patient. Your goal should not be to match a particular orthotic device.

Given the intricacies involved in making a custom functional orthosis, it is almost impossible to match devices exactly. When the patients are told that their new orthosis be made to match the old orthosis exactly then that patient is being set up for failure.

Help your patient achieve success with orthotic therapy by providing realistic expectations. Do not promise them that you can match a previous orthotic device.

ProLab takes a scientific approach with our orthoses by integrating evidence-based medicine into orthotic therapy. Our team of Medical Consultants regularly evaluates the medical literature pertaining to orthotic therapy and biomechanics.ProLab clients are encouraged to contact a medical consultant whenever they have questions about an orthotic prescription.

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