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Forward Motion 2022 Year In Review

Forward Motion Medical manufactures custom orthotics and AFO braces for thousands of doctors across the United States. With such a large number of orders received each week, we are able to gather information and unique insights into the current state of the podiatry industry when it comes to custom orthotics and AFOs.

We’ve compiled some of the most interesting statistics gathered from our orders this year and are pleased to share some of our findings with you:

** Note: The data presented in this article is based on a sample of US orthotic lab customers to extrapolate an analysis of the podiatry industry as a whole. 

Percent Increase in Sales of Custom Orthotics and Braces Sales

Orthotic sales were heavily hit by the Covid Pandemic in 2020/21. Compared to 2021, the number of custom orthotic orders have increased by 18%! This increase may be a sign that the sales of custom orthotics is slowly recovering. There is significant opportunity as the demand for custom orthotics continues to grow and the industry is expected to double by 2030.

The number of custom AFO brace orders increased by a whopping 44%! We expect that number will continue to rise as patients see the benefits of custom AFOs and doctors learn the intricacies of billing insurance codes. If you have questions about custom AFOs, how to bill insurance, or how to order please contact us.

Percentage of Doctors Prescribing Custom and Prefabricated Orthotics

20% of doctors who use Forward Motion prescribe both our prefabricated and custom devices to their patients. The majority of doctors who made an order in 2022 ordered exclusively Custom Devices from our lab at 54.7% of our total accounts. 25.3% of doctors order prefabricated orthotics only.

Prefabricated or custom orthotics are prescribed for different situations depending on the patient's diagnosis. Check out our Product Catalog for more information about our product line of prefabricated and custom devices.

Percentage of Orders Using Digital Casting vs. Traditional Casting Methods

In recent years, we’ve seen a significant change in casting methods with the introduction of 3D scanner technology. The industry has been slowly shifting to digital scanning compared to traditional casting methods.

This is especially apparent this year as over 90% of orders were submitted digitally through our Forward Motion app and only 10% of orders were sent as impression foam boxes and plaster casts mailed to our lab.

Breakdown of Types of Orthotics that Doctors Order

Every part of our custom orthotics are fully customizable, but we do have preset orthotic templates that fall into different categories based on common use cases.

In 2022, the majority of orthotic prescriptions (76%) came from the athletic and functional categories. Accommodative orthotics came in third at 13%, while diabetic and dress orthotics made up 5% each. Specialty and Children’s orthotics made up less than 1%.

Breakdown of Types of Braces that Doctors Order

There was a large increase in the number of AFO braces being ordered this year! Of the AFO braces orders in 2022, Doctors prescribed Balance Braces in 40% of cases. The Gauntlet Brace came in second at 26%, and the Standard Controller Brace was third place at 14% of the orders.

Forward Motion has been manufacturing AFO braces since 2018. Our quality continues to improve and each of our braces are made 100% custom without using any type of library system. We have a team of specialists that can help provide support on insurance codes and insurance billing. If you have any questions on how to best help patients and get reimbursement, feel free to reach out to us.​​

Breakdown of Top Cover Material Prescriptions

When ordering a pair of custom orthotics, there are many material options available. Each top cover has different properties and benefits. Doctors can prescribe a top cover based on the needs and activity level of the patient to fit their unique lifestyle.

The most common material prescribed this year was Neoprene, followed by our Marine-grade vinyl. EVA material orders were significantly less at only 11% of all orders. This was followed by our newer materials Microsilver and Perforated Ucolite coming in at 8% each. Finally, Diabetic Plastazote and Leather made up the the least amount of top cover material orders of 2022.

Breakdown of Shell Rigidities in Prescriptions

Shell Rigidity is one of the most important things when it comes to prescribing custom orthotics. Forward Motion uses a special PRX shell that is thinner and stronger than traditional thermoplastics like Polypropylene and can be prescribed in different rigidities. Each shell comes with a lifetime guarantee to not lose its shape or break.

The most commonly prescribed shell rigidity in 2022 was the Semi-Rigid PRX at 43.7% of all our orthotic orders. This rigidity is a good choice for both functional and accommodative devices. It is rigid enough to be supportive while still being flexible for patient comfort. About 22% of our orders prescribed PRX Graphite which blends Performance RX with carbon fiber. Only about 11% of orthotics orders this year used traditional materials like Polypropylene, Cork, and EVA.

Breakdown of Top Cover Lengths in Prescriptions

Top covers usually come in 3 different lengths. The majority of doctors in 2022 ordered full-length top covers at over 85% of orders. Close to 10% ordered shell-length only and 5% of orders were sulcus length. Full-length and Sulcus Length Top covers have access to our full range of orthotic accommodations while shell-length is the easiest for patients to fit into shoes.

  • Top 5 Orthotic Accommodations in Prescriptions

Metatarsal pads were the most popular orthotic accommodation prescribed this year! Next, we have Metatarsal Accommodations and its variation: the Reverse Morton’s Extension. 1st ray cutout and Hole in Heel accommodations took 4th and 5th place respectively.

Accommodations prescribed may be indicative of the common foot conditions that Podiatrists treat most often. We expect doctors to prescribe more accommodations as they become familiar with accommodation options available. Many orders will combine accommodations together to treat foot pathologies.

If you have any questions about what customization options are available, please check out our Lab Menu or contact us with whatever questions you may have.


We at Forward Motion Medical are confident in our ability to provide custom orthotics and AFOs that your patients will love. Our unique combination of experienced staff members and technology has led to thinner orthotics and faster production techniques.

Our exceptional customer service, crew of pedorthists, and innovative technology makes the entire process of casting and ordering custom orthotics easy and stress free. All these things together ensure great turnaround times and custom orthotics that we know you will love.

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