Orthotics at Blue Bird Day

Guest Authored by Dr. Jennifer King, PT, DPT

Recently, your child’s physical therapist might have asked you for permission to have your child screened for orthotics. Blue Bird Day is proud to announce a new partnership with Midwest Orthotics that allows children in our program to receive an onsite free screening and in-person collaboration between their physical therapist and an orthotist. This partnership allows our therapists to educate the orthotist on the sensory needs of your child and provide insight on your child’s motor development while they have been attending Blue Bird Day. This collaboration is especially important in children who may have never worn orthotics before.

Therapists may recommend a screening for orthotics if they notice that your child has flat feet, if their feet turn in or out when they are walking, or if your child tends to fall frequently. Orthotics recommendations are made after a clinical assessment in standing, walking, and running. The orthotist may take measurements, and the therapist can assist with any behavioral modifications that your child might need. After the screening, your child’s therapist will contact you with the recommendations and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions. The orthotist may recommend custom-made orthotics, over-the-counter orthotics, or no intervention at all.

If over-the-counter orthotics are recommended, our therapists can assist with ordering the correct size and style online. Your insurance may cover the cost of an over-the-counter orthosis such as the Pattibob or Hot Dog style inserts sold by Cascade DAFO. Typically, a pair of Pattibob shoe orthotics costs around $50, and on average a child will wear 1 pair per year.

If custom-made orthotics are recommended, Midwest Orthotics will wait for your approval of their recommendations. After approval, they will contact your pediatrician for a prescription and follow up with your insurance for coverage. While some custom-made orthotics are rigid, many orthotics used in the pediatric population are specially designed for growing feet that are learning to walk, run and jump. Flexible orthotics such as Sure Step SMOs are used to place the foot in correct alignment by ‘hugging’ the ankle and allowing the Achilles tendon to activate with full power. This allows the child to create more force with their ankle muscles for jumping and running. The cost of a pair of custom-made orthotics varies based on your insurance coverage, but Midwest Orthotics will let a family know the cost out of pocket before proceeding with fitting or molding. Custom made orthotics also typically last a year before a new pair is needed.

When it comes to orthotics, it’s important to note that recommendations may change with your child as they grow and develop their motor skills. Your child’s physical therapist will assess their needs on an ongoing basis at Blue Bird Day, and they will be able to communicate easily with the orthotist when they feel your child is ready for less support. Our next scheduled screening is November 28th. If you would like to have your child participate in this event, please let your teacher or physical therapist know!