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Simple Ways to Educate Patients About Custom Orthotics

When you educate patients about the benefits of custom orthotics, it is important to use clear and simple language that patients can understand. Too much talk about supination, pronation, fasciitis, metatarsalgia, valgus, varus, etc. can confuse or intimidate patients. No need for complex medical terminology here!

doctor showing patient a custom orthotic and teaching about benefits

Analogies and comparisons can be effective in helping them visualize the benefits of custom orthotics. In this concise guide, we'll go over some simple methods fellow Podiatrists use to explain. Get ready to equip yourself with the knowledge to better assist your patients!

Custom Orthotics are like Eyeglasses

Although $20 supermarket reading glasses may provide some help and relief, it's nothing compared to what the $200 prescription glasses can do. Making the comparison of how custom orthotics are hand-made to their individual foot compared to a mass-produced prefabricated orthotic can drive the point home.

Shelf of prescription eyeglasses

Orthotics are like a Custom-fitted Suit or Dress

Just like a custom-fitted suit is tailored specifically to an individual's body measurements, custom orthotics are designed to fit the unique contours of a patient's feet. They are custom-made based on detailed measurements and impressions of the patient's feet, ensuring a precise, comfortable, and personalized fit.

Customer being measured for a custom suits

Feet are the Foundation of the Body

Another analogy is to compare the foot to the foundation of a house. Explaining that just as a weak foundation can cause problems throughout a structure, foot problems can travel up the kinetic chain to affect the entire body.

Leaning tower of pisa with 2 skeletons superimposed to show aligned vs misaligned

Custom orthotics are a way to stabilize the body's foundation and ensure that there is no "leaning" or collapsing in unexpected places. Just as a building's foundation is designed to ensure a level and balanced structure, orthotics help distribute the body's weight evenly, providing a solid base and preventing excessive stress on specific areas of the feet.

Educate Patients With a Visual Aid or Object Lesson

Teaching patients using a model foot or their own foot can be helpful for those that learn better visually.

Doctor showing a model foot and teaching about foot biomechanics

Prioritize the Biomechanics of the Patient!

The final advice that many of the podiatrists mentioned as an effective way to prescribe more orthotics to patients is to take the time to learn about their individual biomechanics and explain to them how orthotics can help address their specific foot problems.

By conducting a thorough evaluation and analysis of each patient's gait, foot structure, and other relevant factors, we gain a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of the patients' foot pain or discomfort. This knowledge can then be used to explain to patients how custom orthotics can help correct these issues and improve their foot health.

Next time you teach about custom orthotics, try one of the explanations in this article instead of using medical terms. Ultimately, by prioritizing patient education and individualized care, we can help more patients find relief from foot pain and improve their quality of life together!

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