Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a prescription from my doctor?
While a prescription from your doctor is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. Medically prescribed devices do not attract sales tax and are eligible to claim on your income taxes.
Additionally, if you have extended health care coverage for custom foot orthotics, off-the-shelf orthopaedic shoes, custom orthopaedic shoes, shoe modifications, compression stocking (for higher compression strength), knee bracing, or other medically prescribed items, you will require a prescription (Rx) from your doctor.
Lastly, if you have already discussed this treatment with your physician, or have already received a prescription in the past, we would be happy to contact your doctor for an updated prescription on your behalf, with your permission, of course. In that case, please contact us for a repeat appointment.
Is your service or products covered by OHIP?
No. Sadly our services and products are not currently covered by OHIP.
You may have coverage under your extended health care program, or there may be some assistance from certain special agencies such as:
- Indian Affairs' NIHB;
- Veteran Affairs;
- WSIB; and
- Ontario Works.
Please call to discuss your situation if we can be of assistance.
How long is the appointment?
The 1st visit is approximately 1 hour.
If you provide your email address at the time you book your appointment, you will be able to fill out your contact information electronically. However you can do so in person at the start of your appointment if you prefer or if you don't have email.
Marcel, our Certified Pedorthist, will perform your biomechanical assessment and gait analysis. After deciding on a course of treatment, should custom orthotics be required, he will take a 3D image of your feet, usually using a non-weight bearing plaster cast method. Other 3D methods are also used on a case-by-case, and less frequent, basis.
You will NOT receive your custom orthotics that day. We WILL make them on the premises though and have you back for your fitting visit in approximately two (2) weeks. This fitting appointment is approximately 15-20 minutes.
You will also have a 1-month follow up visit to make certain that the treatment is working. Adjustments to your custom foot orthotics, if any, can be made on the premises generally while you wait.
Lastly, you will be booked for a 1-year follow up to keep you in tip top shape and head off any problems before they arise. You may of course see us earlier if your situation changes.
What do I need to bring to my 1st appointment?
You will need the following for your 1st appointment:
- Your completed contact information (if you gave your email at the time of booking an appointment).
- Your doctor's prescription.
- All the shoes you are currently wearing.
- Any special claims information: NIHB, WSIB, Ontario Works, Veteran Affairs, GreenShield including your card.
I have my Native Status Card? Are orthotics covered?
All claims to NIHB must be submitted on a case-by-case basis, however, generally, NIHB will cover the cost of custom foot orthotics, up to a maximum of $450.00 for one (1) pair every two (2) anniversary years.
What do I need to bring to my 2nd (fitting) appointment?
If you are using an existing pair of shoes,
- Please bring those shoes with you to your fitting appointment. Leave the existing linings in the shoes, we will remove them for you.
If you are buying new shoes (but not from us), perhaps on the pedorthist's recommendation,
- Please bring an old pair of running or walking shoes to your fitting appointment. You will be able to take your orthotics with you when you are shoe shopping and get a better fit!
What type of payment do you accept?
We currently accept cash, cheque, debit, VISA and MasterCard.
Do my shoes fit?
Below are two shoe tests you can perform to help ensure you are selecting the right size and type of footwear:
Tracing Test – To evaluate the fit of prospective new footwear, have someone trace the outline of your foot while you’re standing. Then place the insole of your shoe over the tracing to compare your foot shape to the shoe shape. Most of the tracing should be contained within the insole, especially the heel and ball. If it isn’t contained, the shoe will not fit your foot properly and will cause discomfort, pain and premature wear.
Heel Counter Test – The heel counter is the hard piece in the back of the shoe that controls the foot’s motion from side-to-side. A strong heel counter increases stability providing better support for your foot. To quickly test the effectiveness of a shoe’s heel counter, place the shoe in the palm of your hand with your thumb in the mid-portion of the heel counter. Try to push the back of the shoe. If the heel counter does not bend much it will provide the motion control your foot requires.
Will Orthopaedic Shoes Help Me?
Supportive, well-fitting footwear plays a vital role in keeping you mobile and pain free.
However, wearing appropriate shoes is sometimes not enough if you have certain foot conditions and foot types. If this is the case, you may require orthopaedic shoes.
What are orthopaedic shoes?
Orthopaedic shoes are shoes that are specifically designed to support or accommodate the mechanics and structure of your foot, ankle and leg.
Do I need Orthopaedic shoes?
The more abnormal your foot mechanics are, the more likely you will require orthopaedic shoes. You may need orthopaedic shoes if you have:
- a foot or toe deformity
- a complicated or severe foot injury
- extremely wide feet or bunions
- an ulceration
- poor foot mechanics
- a neurological disease that affects your feet, such as diabetes
- a brace that requires specialized footwear to accommodate it.
If you think you may need orthopaedic footwear, book a consultation with us, a foot expert, to conduct a full assessment of your lower limbs and tell y ou which orthopaedic features you require for your foot type and condition.
Where can I purchase orthopaedic shoes?
Although some retail outlets specialize in hard to fit feet and orthopaedic shoes, orthopaedic footwear is usually found in stores and clinics that have a resident foot care specialist. A Pedorthist can adv ise you on the best orthopaedic shoes for you and make sure they fit your feet properly.
Do I need to wear my orthopaedic shoes all the time?
Depending on the shape of your feet and the nature of the condition you may need to wear your orthopaedic shoes most, if not, all of the time. However, some people need only wear their orthopaedic shoes while at work or when they are active or standing for a long period of time.
Are orthopaedic shoes just for seniors?
Nope. Although changes in foot structure and biomechanics associated with aging may require orthopaedic shoes, poor foot mechanics can affect peoples of any age. More stylish alternative exist than in the early days of orthopaedic footwear so we can usually accommodate your fashion tastes, as browsing through our products will show.
Are all orthopaedic shoes the same?
Nope. They come with a variety of different features to accommodate for various foot conditions and mechanics. We can help you navigate the options and find the footwear that will help your situation.
What orthopaedic features should I look for?
As stated above, orthopaedic shoes come with a variety of different features to accommodate various conditions and medical foot problems. All orthopaedic shoes have some, or all, of the following features and functions:
- Removable sock liner or insole — these removable footbeds allow for extra depth in the shoe to accommodate custom orthotics if you need them
- Adjustable closure — laces or Velcro are important to insure a secure fit for your shoes
- Variety of widths — a necessaty to ensure a proper fit for narrow, standard, wide and extra-wide feet. Half-sizes also make fitting easier and more accurate
- Appropriate heel counter — that back part of your shoe is very important depending on your medical need. A stiff heel counter will provide much needed stability and control excessive rolling inward/outward while soft heel counters would protect a sore bump on the back of your heel.
- Torsionally strong midsole and outsole — proper footwear should provide a stable base for the foot and not twist or bend easily in the midsole. This is an area to watch when purchasing footwear in general, as this is one area where some manufactures try to eliminate weight by carving out the arch under the foot. This also makes footwear appear slimmer. but not always desirable.
The Skinny on Flip Flops.
Nothing says summer like a pair of fashionable, lightweight flips flops, but when you reach for your summer footwear you should always think about balancing style and ease with comfort and support.
Basic flip flops, particularly bargain-basement brands, do not provide the support, motion control and cushioning your foot requires during walking. However, some footwear companies design flip flops with the health of your feet in mind.
Here are some tips to help you select a good pair of flip flops:
- Don’t be tempted to buy a pair that doesn’t fit just because it looks great. If your feet are too wide or your heel or toes hang over the edge, they are not right for you.
- Look for flips flops that have a thicker sole, a slightly thicker heel, an arch contour and a deep heel cup as these features will provide the support and shock absorption your feet need.
- Flip flops are usually made out of material that softens or stretches over time, so be sure to only buy ones with thick enough, or adjustable, straps that will keep your feet anchored in the correct spot even as the flip flops age.
- If last year’s flip flops are misshapen or no longer hold your foot securely, throw them out.
The best advice is to limit wearing flip flops as much as possible. Choose a more supportive sandal with a contoured footbed that supports your arch and cups your heel. Your feet will appreciate it.
The industry has come along way from your grannies’ orthopaedic shoes, and fashionable yet functional summer sandals are now available with removable footbeds that can accommodate custom foot orthotics. Come in to see if your will thrive in summer sandals with your foot condition and see what’s available to wear for your summer fun.
- Source: adapted from pedorthic.ca
How do I choose the right shoes?
Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C) – recommend you check the following criteria when purchasing footwear:
Comfort – Proper fitting footwear should feel comfortable the moment you try it on. The old adage that a snug-fitting shoe will stretch over time is a dangerous myth, as it can cut off circulation to your foot and cause blisters or other painful wounds.
Toe wiggle room – To allow your feet to function properly, there should be a minimum of 1/4″ of space in the shoe beyond the longest toe of your largest foot. This should be measured while you are standing, as your feet expand while weight bearing.
Snug Heel – Footwear should fit snugly around your heels but should not dig in.
Laces – Look for shoes that lace up and allow for variable lacing patterns or use specific techniques to improve heel fit. This will ensure the shoe fits snugly and supports the movement of your foot.
Measure both feet – The size of your feet can change throughout your entire life and most people have one foot larger than the other. Plus all shoes are not manufactured the same. This means your foot size may vary from brand to brand and over time. It is imperative to be fitted by a knowledgeable shoe fitter who will measure both of your feet using a device such as the Brannock device.
Match foot and shoe shape – For a shoe to fit properly, the shape of the shoe must match the shape of your foot. If your foot looks wide and square than the shoe should mirror it and feature a wide toe box (top part of shoe). Regardless of foot shape, avoid any shoe with a pointed toe. Shoes should bend where your foot bends which should also match the widest point of your foot. Ignoring this fit criterion may cause discomfort, pain and accelerated shoe wear.
Removable Insole – Buy footwear with removable insoles and replace them when they wear out. While cushioning requirements vary from one foot type to the next, proper cushioning will place less stress on your joints and improve your muscle function. If you wear custom foot orthotics or specific over-the-counter insoles you will usually require a removable insole to accommodate your orthotic.
Heel Counter – Make sure the shoe features a firm heel counter (the hard piece of material located at the back of the shoe that controls side-to-side foot motion) as a strong heel counter increases stability and provides better support for your foot.
Cushioning – Although cushioning is important, too much cushioning forces your foot and leg muscles to work overtime to provide stability. These are just a few helpful pointers to help you select proper footwear. If you are experiencing foot pain or discomfort, you should consult a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for pedorthic management services including orthopaedic footwear, shoe selection guidance and orthotics.
- Source: www.pedorthic.ca
What about workplace footwear?
Foot injuries account for 10% of all reported disabling injuries in the workplace in Canada. According to Canada’s National Occupational Health and Safety Resource, 2 out of every 3 workers in Canada suffer from some sort of foot problem in their lifetime.
Some professions are at a higher risk for disabling foot injuries due to the physical demands of their job and mandatory footwear requirements including:
- construction workers
- factory workers
- police officers
- sales clerks
Long periods of standing, repetitive motions, improper foot alignment and improper footwear can lead to muscle and ligament fatigue which increases the risk of injury and damage to bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and other tissues of the feet. The resulting inflammation and abnormal wear and tear can lead to conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain), Metatarsalgia (pain at the forefoot) and Repetitive Strain Injury.
Pedorthic pointers to help workers avoid common foot problems:
- When purchasing shoes, select a stable shoe with a sturdy heel counter (the back of the shoe that controls motion) and stable midsoles that provide shock absorption.
- Purchase lower heels and broad soles to provide a more stable base of support.
- Look for lace-up shoes as they offer more support than Velcro or slip-on shoes. Fully lace your shoes/boots every time you put them on to maximize support.
- Replace workplace shoes and boots at least every 6 – 12 months or when your body first starts showing signs of fatigue.
- If a foot injury occurs, seek help from a physician. Don’t let a small problem turn into a big problem.
- Consult with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for specific recommendations for your workplace and foot type.
Footwear Modification Questions
Can all shoes be modified?
What is a modified shoe?
Modified shoes are everyday footwear that have been professionally altered to address the specific needs of an individual’s feet, and accommodate their foot condition. Modified shoes may have one or more custom adjustment. Many modifications are hidden within or beneath the shoe so modified shoes often look like regular footwear to the untrained eye.
What conditions can modified shoes help to treat?
- Large bunions
- Toe deformities
- Collapsed arch
- Ankle fusion or other surgical interventions of the foot
- Traumatic injury
- Congenital conditions
- Leg Length difference, especially after hip surgery