Lower extremity mobility is essential in living independently and for people to engage in meaningful and purposeful occupations. Occupational therapists who work in the field of orthotics are involved in foot care and foot problems. Therapists often complete assessments to determine the cause of issues and examine foot range of motion, sit-stand test, physical observations, circulation or shoe evaluation. Sensation testing is also necessary because decreased blood circulation caused by diabetes or other conditions may lead to foot injuries.
Occupational therapists may complete a gait analysis, which is a method for identifying abnormalities in how a person walks or runs. A gait analysis can help identify underactive or overactive muscles in the feet or issues related to bone structure. A gait analysis can be completed using simple observation or more complex technologies such as video analyzing software.
Occupational therapists may assess shoes to examine factors such as appropriate length or width at the forefoot, type of tread of closure (e.g. laces or velcro) and depth of the toe box. An occupational therapist may design custom orthoses that are contoured to match a person's foot characteristics. The goal of occupational therapy interventions related to foot care is to resolve foot-related issues and maintain or restore functional independence in daily living.
Langer, Paul. Great Feet for Life: Foot Care and Footwear for Healthy Aging. Fairview Press, 2007.