At Tender Touch Orthotics we make our orthotics 100% on-site. After the casts of your feet have been taken, decisions have made about the type of orthotic that will be fabricated and what materials will be used… the mess, and noise, and “art” of orthotics begins.
Making custom foot orthotics is as much of an art, as it is a science. There is something so deeply satisfying to me about the process, and I take a lot of pride in the work that I do. To me, a perfectly made orthotic is a thing of beauty. It is more than what I do, making these devices with my hands, and helping people move through them is my passion. But I digress…
Step one: Pouring the plaster…. this is where some of the mess begins. Plaster (like the stuff used to make walls in century homes) is mixed with water, and poured into the cast that was taken of your foot.
Step two: Wait. I like to leave the plaster to cure for at least a couple of days. It sets up much faster then this, but I don’t like to rush the process.
Step three: Washing the cast, and making modifications. At this point we have a copy of your foot, and are able to make changes to the plaster positive if needed, smooth out any rough edges etc.
Step four: Wait. I don’t like to press damp casts….so again with the waiting!! 🙂
Step five: Heat up the shell material, and prepare to use the press!! At this point the messy part is on hold, and we are starting to get noisy! Once the materials are heated and flexible they are put up against the plaster positive of your foot, and a bladder is vacuum pressed down against your foot and the material. This creates the shell of the orthotic, which is 100% custom to the shape/structure of your foot.
Step six: Shaping the shell, adding postings, and materials. This stage is where the noise & mess meet! This process is the most time consuming, and where the art of orthotic fabrication begins!
Once the orthotic has been pieced together, and shaped to provide you with the correction and comfort you need it is ready for the next stage – delivery into your footwear! Stay tuned for our next blog post on the proper fitting of orthotics!