Pedorthics is the design, manufacture, modification, and fit of footwear to treat problems caused by disease, overuse, conditions present at birth, or injury. Pedorthics uses footwear to help ease and treat these foot-related problems.
What is a Pedorthist?
A Pedorthist is a healthcare professional with specific training in footwear—which includes shoes, shoe modifications, foot orthoses, and other pedorthic devices—to solve problems in, or related to, the foot and lower limb.
When a foot requires medical attention, footwear becomes a factor in the patient's treatment, recovery, or rehabilitation. It's a team approach: while the doctor treats your foot, the credentialed pedorthist addresses your therapeutic (medical) footwear needs.
What does a Pedorthist do?
Credentialed Pedorthists select and modify footwear (or make it, if necessary) to help people maintain or regain as much mobility as possible. When your ability to walk is affected, everything that surrounds or touches your foot—whether it's foot orthoses, shoes, boots, slippers, sandals, socks, hosiery, night splints, bandages, braces, partial-foot prosthetics, or other devices that interact with your foot. Pedorthists are able to make footwear a crucial part of your recommended treatment plan. Footwear adjustments can be made inside or outside a shoe.
Foot orthoses, also called orthotics, are an important component of footwear that can accommodate, support, or relieve specific conditions, as well as improve the foot's function. In addition to designing and fabricating an appropriate orthotic, a credentialed pedorthist can provide you with personalized attention in selecting, fitting, and modifying shoes so that you can wear the orthotic effectively. Credentialed pedorthists follow up to make sure the footwear functions as your doctor prescribed. A footwear prescription, like any other prescription, takes into account your medical history, activities of daily living, and treatment goals.
How can a Pedorthist help me?
Many people suffer from foot problems, ranging from calluses to conditions that require hospitalization. Pedorthists can help treat these problems conservatively (non-surgically) by creating or modifying footwear as part of an overall treatment regimen prescribed by your doctor. Footwear is a crucial part of treatment, as mobility is affected by everything that surrounds or touches the foot. Footwear modifications can also be performed to simply make shoes more comfortable.
How can I become a Pedorthist?
First, pedorthists-in-training take courses on footwear fitting, lower extremity orthotic design, manufacture and materials, shoe construction and modification, and patient and practice management. Upon completion of their coursework, they are required to complete 1,000 hours of practical experience if they are seeking the C.Ped. credential from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). The 1,000 hour requirement does not apply to those seeking the BOC Pedorthist credential from the Board of Certification/Accreditation, International (BOC). The final stage is taking the ABC or BOC examination. For more information about the examinations, visit the ABC Web site or the BOC Web site.