If you regularly experience foot, back, or leg pain, you may be a candidate for orthotics. These custom-crafted inserts are designed to support your unique biomechanics and can improve your quality of life. At the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa, podiatrist Rudolph La Fontant, DPM, collaborates with podiatry labs in the area to design and manufacture custom orthotics for people of all ages. To make an appointment at the practice in Des Moines, Iowa, call the office today or click the online booking feature.

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What are orthotics?

Orthotics are prescription heel pads or inserts that you wear inside of your shoes. They correct biomechanical issues that affect the way you stand, walk, or run. You might also benefit from orthotics if you have an underlying condition, like diabetes, arthritis, or plantar fasciitis, that negatively affects your mobility.

What are the types of orthotics?

Dr. La Fontant offers several types of orthotics, including:

Rigid or “functional” orthotics

Rigid orthotics are made of tough, inflexible materials like plastic or carbon fiber. They’re designed for use in closed-toe shoes that have low heels. Dr. La Fontant uses rigid orthotics to relieve strains in your legs, thighs, and lower back that occur due to issues with your gait or posture.

Soft or “accommodative” orthotics

Accommodative orthotics are made of soft, padded materials. They provide an extra layer of protection and relieve pressure on sore spots caused by diabetic ulcers or an underlying condition like plantar fasciitis. Soft orthotics tend to be bulky, so you might need to wear them with prescription footwear, like diabetic shoes.

What does getting orthotics involve?

Before prescribing orthotics, Dr. La Fontant reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms. Next, he physically examines your feet, toes, and ankles.

Then, Dr. La Fontant watches you walk around the exam room to see how your hips, feet, ankles, and legs move. By assessing your biomechanics, he’s able to make sure the orthotics function exactly as they should.

Next, Dr. La Fontant takes exact molds of your feet. He sends your molds to an orthotics laboratory that manufactures your custom orthotics. The labs that Dr. La Fontant works with are experts at what they do and regularly fabricating footwear for professional and collegiate-level athletes such as LA Lakers and LA Galaxy.

A few weeks later, when the laboratory finishes your custom orthotics, you return to the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa. Dr. La Fontant has you try on the orthotics and makes adjustments as necessary.

How long do orthotics last?

If you take good care of your orthotics, they can last for three or four years and sometimes even longer. Because orthotics are prescription medical devices, they’re often covered (at least partially) by health insurance.

To see if you can benefit from orthotics, make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa by calling the office today or clicking the online booking feature. 

Notes: We use labs that work with professional and collegiate athletes.  We strive to make the orthotic to be useful for your specific activity.  We check your biomechanics to make sure the orthotic functions as it should for your activity.