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Forward Motion 2023 Year In Review

Another year has come and gone! Here at Forward Motion Medical, we have been able to gather information and unique insights into the current state of the industry when it comes to manufacturing custom orthotics and AFOs.

As we begin the new year, we’ve compiled and organized our data from 2023. Many things have improved or changed since our 2022 review and we are pleased to share 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 Orders and Sales of Custom Orthotics & Braces

The number of custom orthotic orders in 2023 surged by over 20% compared to the year before. The consistent increase over the last 2 years suggests that the market and industry are in a healthy recovery. As people prioritize foot health and comfort, the demand for personalized foot support solutions will continue to rise. 

The number of custom AFO brace orders labs received increased by 10.2% this year. While not as dramatic of an increase, the consistent growth shows that more patients and doctors are seeing the benefits of custom AFO braces. If you want to learn how to get started or have questions about custom AFOs and how to order, please contact us.

Percentage of Doctors Prescribing Custom Orthotics, Prefabricated and AFO Braces

When breaking down what devices doctors use to treat patients, the majority (86%) of doctors will prescribe custom orthotics, then 25.7% prescribe prefabricated orthotics and only 11.2% use AFO braces. Very few doctors use all types of devices in their practice.

As a doctor, offering a diverse range of solutions allows you to treat patients with precision. Consider expanding your treatment options this year to ensure every patient receives the most effective, individualized care.

As a full service custom orthotics lab, Forward Motion offers products in all 3 categories: custom orthotics, prefabricated orthotics, and custom AFO braces. To explore our full range of products, check out our product catalog for more information about our product line of prefabricated and custom devices.

Percentage of Orders Using Digital vs. Non-Digital Casting Methods

When it comes to casting methods, 89% of the orders that labs received this year were sent digitally through compared to 11% of orders being sent as impression foam boxes and plaster casts mailed to the lab.

We expect the number of foam boxes and plaster casting will continue to shrink, especially with the introduction of new technology like our iPhone 3D scanner app. Scans can be made directly with the built-in face recognition software in iOS devices. 

Breakdown of Types of AFO Braces Doctors Ordered

Of the AFO braces orders in 2023, the majority (36%) prescribed Balance Braces. There was an increase of Gauntlet Brace to 30.6%, and the Standard Controller Brace also increased to third place at 23.5% of the orders.

Since 2018, Forward Motion has been handcrafting 100% custom AFOs, tailored to each patient's unique needs. Our commitment to quality goes beyond the build. We understand that AFOs can be daunting, so our dedicated team is here to guide you every step of the way. From using our Forward Motion app to scan the leg, choosing the right settings, and navigating the billing process, we're your partner in maximizing patient care and reimbursement.

Breakdown of Types of Custom Orthotics Doctors Ordered

While custom orthotics are fully customizable, there are preset orthotic templates that fall into different categories based on common use cases. In 2023, the majority of orthotics (76%) were prescribed from Athletic and Functional categories. Accommodative orthotics came in third at 10.6%, while Diabetic and Dress orthotics together made up around 10%. Specialty and Children’s orthotics increased to 3.5% of all orders.

Breakdown of Top Cover Material Prescriptions

When prescribing custom orthotics, choosing the right top cover material is crucial to patient comfort and compliance. Each top cover has different properties and benefits. It’s up to you as the Doctors to prescribe a top cover to support each patient’s unique lifestyle and activity levels.

The most common material prescribed this year continued to be Neoprene, followed closely by Marine-grade Vinyl. Perforated Ucolite rose to match EVA material at 11%, followed by Microsilver coming in at 8%. 

Breakdown of Shell Rigidities in Prescriptions

Shell Rigidity and type of orthotic shell is one of the most important things when it comes to prescribing custom orthotics. Rigidity prescription ratios remained about the same as the previous year with Semi-Rigid Performance RX remaining on top at 44.7% of all our orthotic orders. About 22% of our orders prescribed PRX Graphite which blends Performance RX with carbon fiber. 

If you’re still using older materials like polypropylene, cork or EVA in your orthotics, consider trying Forward Motion’s special proprietary orthotic shells. We use a special PRX shell that is thinner and stronger than traditional thermoplastics and can be prescribed in different rigidities. Each shell comes with a lifetime guarantee to not lose its shape or break. Contact us today for a free pair to try out yourself.

Breakdown of Top Cover Lengths in Prescriptions

Not much change when it comes to Top covers lengths ratios! The majority of doctors in 2023 continued to order full-length top covers at over 87% of orders. Close to 8% ordered shell-length only and 5% of orders were sulcus length. 


Your patients deserve the best! As one of the main manufacturers of custom orthotics and AFO braces for doctors in the United States, Forward Motion crafts thinner, lighter, and better orthotics and AFOs with unmatched comfort and faster fabrication.

We work together with you to create ultra-thin, custom-made support that your patients will love! Our 3D scanning technology ensures the entire process of ordering custom orthotics is easy and stress-free. Everything comes together to ensure great turnaround times and quality devices. Give Forward Motion a try today.

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