It’s getting closer to the end of the year and many people’s benefits or insurance coverage will renew in the new year. At our Oakville foot clinic we often see people at this time of the year who have been putting off taking care of themselves and taking care of their feet in particular. At Palermo Physiotherapy and Wellness Centre our Chiropodist and front desk staff works hard to ensure the care, orthotics and paperwork you receive follow the guidelines of the College of Chiropodists of Ontario as well as insurance company guidelines. When appropriately prescribed to treat a medical condition, Custom Orthotics can decrease pain, not just in your feet but also in other parts of your body, such as the knees, hips and lower back.
It is important when seeking Custom Orthotics, that you get a full assessment and appropriate care that follows the guidelines of your insurance company to ensure that you are reimbursed. Whether you are prescribed custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis, arthritis, bunions or specific offloading for diabetics, your extended health care benefits will help cover:
- Custom Orthotics
- Custom Shoes
What is a Custom Orthotic?
An Orthotic is a corrective device worn inside a shoe. It is designed to joints, bones, muscles and tendons of your feet and lower legs function at their highest potential. They are also for offloading areas of pressure in the foot in people who have lack of sensation or sore points. At our Oakville Foot Clinic Custom Orthotics are manufactured from a 3-D image of your foot using plaster of paris casting (raw materials).
What to expect during your assessment: You may be prescribed Orthotics by your family physician or specialist, however you do not require a prescription to visit a Chiropodist. In fact, it is often sufficient for insurance purposes to have a note from the foot specialist. Once you have a prescription for Custom Orthotics, your next step is an appointment with a qualified foot care specialist (a Chiropodist). They will guide you through a thorough evaluation to ensure Orthotics are the best option and that they will be designed just for you and your foot and joint needs.
During an initial assessment with the Chiropodist they will record your medical history, symptoms and previous injuries, and takes into account your lifestyle and typical footwear (bring your shoes!).
During the exam, the foot care specialist will observe:
- Your posture
- The structure, alignment of your toes, feet and legs
- The range of motion of your legs and feet
- Your current footwear for fit, wear patterns and function
During your gait analysis, your provider observes how you walk; identifying any existing accommodations or abnormalities..
Most insurance companies require that your Custom Orthotics are fit by creating a 3-D representation of your foot in its ideal functional position. In our Oakville Foot Clinic we create this through plaster of paris casting. Making a footprint on an ink pad, recording your shoe size or walking over a pressure plate does not provide enough information needed to create custom-made orthotics.
When your Orthotics are ready, your Chiropodist schedules a dispensing appointment. This is to ensure your orthotics fit you and your footwear. They will conduct another gait analysis while you’re wearing your new custom orthotics. You will receive patient education on how your orthotics should feel, how to break them in, when you should wear them and how to take care of them.
To be eligible for coverage under your plan your Custom Orthotics must be:
- Custom-made using raw materials, created from a three-dimensional cast of your feet.
- Prescribed by a specific health care professional – a doctor, chiropodist or podiatrist – as a medically-necessary treatment for a foot condition
What’s not covered by Insurance?
- Orthotics or orthopaedic footwear purchased for convenience or general comfort only
- Commercially-made or over-the-counter products made in pharmacies or other retail stores
- Orthotics for sports or recreational activities only
- Discounted orthotics or orthopaedic shoes
Buyer Beware! What to watch for when buying Orthotics
To protect yourself, avoid the following scenarios when purchasing Orthotics:
- As part of a group. Some people hold mass screenings at work or home, offering orthotics to groups without proper evaluation of each individual
- As part of a special deal or discount offers. This is often a sign that something isn’t right. Providers and Chiropodists who are eligible dispensers under your plan are not allowed to offer deals under their code of ethics. Ex. offers of ‘free shoes with Orthotics’ or ‘two-for-one’ deals.
- Temporary situations like home or trade show exhibits, kiosks or health booths in malls or department stores
- Purchasing on-line
Why is it important to see a Chiropodist for your Orthotics?
Chiropodists (Foot Care Specialists) as health care professionals, are licensed and governed under provincial organizations. As such, they are subject to standards of practice and codes of ethics. This helps ensure both their accountability and your protection.
Check your coverage:
If you have access, visit your Insurance Plan Member Services website or refer to your employee booklet to confirm your coverage details: from what’s covered, the percentage you’re covered for, and any limits that apply, such as a yearly maximum. You can also confirm if your plan accepts prescriptions from any other health care professionals. For example, some plans accept prescriptions from chiropractors, while others don’t.
Did You Know?
Our Chiropodist not only helps their patients with custom made Orthotics! They like to practice within the full scope of their practice. This means they also treat arthritis (OA, RA etc), calluses, corns, ingrown toenails, shin splints, athletes foot, warts, thick and fungal nails, bunions, flat feet, heel/arch/knee/foot pain, athletes foot and more.
Contact our Oakville Foot Clinic for further information regarding the services of our Chiropodist. We are conveniently located at the corner of Old Bronte and Dundas in the Palermo Professional Centre.