Orthotics previously came in two main forms: over-the-counter (OTC) and custom. OTC orthotics are shoe inserts that are taken off the shelf at a store and simply placed in shoes and worn as is. Custom orthotics are made from impressions of the feet by means of plaster molds, a foam box, or a scanner. The impressions are then sent to a lab for manufacturing. After they are made, they are returned to the healthcare professional and then dispensed to the patient.
In recent years, a third type of orthotic has become available, which has characteristics and benefits of both OTC and custom orthotics. These are prefabricated orthotics that are molded to a person’s feet using either heat or UV-light. They are similar to OTC orthotics in that they can be purchased in a store or from a healthcare professional. They are also more affordable than custom orthotics. Like custom orthotics, though, they can be altered when they are formed to a person’s feet, making them more customizable than a regular OTC insert.
Originally created by Alan Jacobsen, PhD, and now distributed exclusively to healthcare professionals by Powerstep, Light Orthotics are composed of a polyurethane foam on top of a lightweight supportive shell. They come in 11 different sizes and are flat upon arrival. With the use of UV-light, these prethotics are cured to a person’s feet in under 10 minutes and are ready to wear immediately afterwards.
Once the appropriately-sized prethotics are selected and the lightbox is set-up, the patient’s lower extremity is positioned.
The lights should be dimmed, if possible, and protective eyewear should be worn. Once the foot is correctly positioned, it is pushed through the plastic wrap, which supplies negative pressure against the prethotic.
The lightbox is turned on and the prethotic is cured against the foot after just a couple minutes. After it is set, it should be checked against the patient’s foot and trimmed to fit the shoe, as necessary. Then, the other prethotic is formed against the other foot using the same method.
Watch the video below to see how quickly and easily it is to make Light Orthotics, and check out the before and after pictures underneath to see how they can correct certain foot deformities, such as flat feet.
DISCLAIMER: The above information is meant for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult the doctor, or your own healthcare professional, should you have questions or concerns related to your health.