Considering Foot Surgery? What You Need To Know About Post-Op Orthotics

Posted on: 4 May 2020


If you have foot problems that cannot be fixed with mild treatments, you may want to reach out to an orthopedist to explore your surgical options. After surgery, you'll have to follow post-op instructions outlined by your doctor. One guideline your orthopedist may recommend is the usage of orthotics. Read on to learn more about orthotics and how they can help your recovery.

What's the Purpose of Orthotics?

Orthotics are artificial devices that correct biomechanical issues and provide support. Before your surgery, your orthopedist may prescribe custom orthotics to see if your problem can be relieved before proceeding with more invasive methods.

What's the Purpose of Post-Operative Orthotics?

Even if surgery is unavoidable, orthotics are still be used afterward to speed healing, reduce pain, and reduce the chances of recurring symptoms/re-injury.

Furthermore, pre-operative orthotics can be very different than post-operative ones in their construction. For example, if you used to use semi-rigid orthotics, then you may need a softer and more flexible orthotic after surgery that can accommodate wound dressings, swelling, and reduced range of motion.

What Types of Foot Surgeries Need Post-Op Orthotics?

Ultimately, whether or not you need a post-op orthotic is up to your orthopedist's recommendations. However, common surgeries that tend to use post-op orthotics include:

  • Heel spur surgery

  • Foot fracture reparation surgery

  • Bunion removal surgery

To decide whether or not you need a post-op orthotic, your orthopedist may conduct a gait analysis. During this analysis, the orthopedist will have you walk on a moving platform and record your movements with different camera views. A gait analysis can help your doctor better compare how your foot worked both before and after surgery and reveal any muscle weaknesses that may need additional support.

Do You Need to Wear Orthotics for Post-Op Physical Therapy?

While your post-op splint may immediately mobilize and support your foot, your doctor may recommend a different orthotic for your physical therapy. Here are a few examples of orthotics that you could use as you improve your range of motion:

Dynamic splint: This type of orthotics surrounds and supports joints but allows a greater range of movement so that you can stretch your muscles and break up scar tissue

Knee-ankle foot orthotics (KAFO): These orthotics extend all the way up from your ankle to your knee. If your gait analysis shows great muscle weakness, this type of orthotic could help.

Ankle-foot orthotic (AKO): These orthotic devices can help people who are suffering from "foot drop," a condition where you have a weak anterior tibialis and cannot lift the front of your foot.

Shoe inserts: If you have very flat feet, these orthotics can keep your arches from collapsing and prevent tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

These types of orthotics are invaluable for physical therapy because they will keep your body mechanics from falling back into bad positions. These orthotics provide support so that you won't be in pain while you exercise.

Contact an orthopedist at a clinic like Bio  Tech Prosthetics and Orthotics in your area today to learn more about post-op instructions and how to get fitted for orthotics.