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Orthotics Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to wear my brace forever?
This is really dependent on why you need the brace. If the brace is helping you with recovery from an injury, then it may be temporary. If you have a deteriorating condition, it may be permanent. You should always ask your doctor about this.
I have a closet full of shoes. Can I wear my brace with any of them?
Maybe. It depends on the type of shoes that you have. Braces often take up a lot of room in a shoe so it is not uncommon to have to buy a slightly bigger shoe in which to wear the brace. Braces work best in lace up or Velcro shoes that have a removable insole. Slip on shoes need to be too short and too tight to stay on your foot so when you add a brace to shoe there is often not room enough for your foot.
Will I have to wear ugly shoes?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That being said you may be surprised with the variety of shoes into which your brace will fit. There may need to be some compromise on your part, but if you can walk better and with less pain, hopefully the compromise will not be so bad.
If I get a bigger shoe to fit my brace, won’t the shoe on my other foot be too big?
Possibly. It depends on your foot and which side the brace is on. Most people have one foot that is shorter than the other. If the short foot is your brace side then the shoe fit may not be a problem. Also, most people need to have some sort of heel lift inside the shoe on the non brace side because the brace makes the brace side a little longer than the non brace side. Without a heel lift then it can be harder to walk. Often putting a second insole inside the non brace shoe fills in the extra space and balances the height difference.
My friend has a brace and it is really small. Why can’t I get one like that?
In all likelihood your friend has a different medical condition than you do and does not need as controlling of a brace. Different types of braces have different functions. You need the one that is right for you and your condition.
How often can I get a new leg brace?
If your condition does not change you can get a new brace every five years. If your brace breaks or you have a physician documented change in your condition you can get the new brace sooner.
When I get my new diabetic shoes next year can I get a dress shoe?
You can get any shoe that is on Medicare’s approved list for shoes (as long as we can get them). Keep in mind that the intent of this benefit is that you have a properly fit pair of shoes that you wear every day. We are not supposed to dispense new shoes, even after a year, if you have not worn out your previous pair. Remember, this is a benefit, not an entitlement. When you tell us that you have not even worn the shoes you got last year, you have disqualified yourself from the benefit. If you only wear your diabetic shoes for a couple of hours a week when you attend a religious service, you will most likely not wear them out during the year and will not be eligible again until they are worn out.
Medicare says that I can get a new pair of diabetic shoes every year. If I get a pair in December, can I get a new pair in January?
Are the shoes that you got in December worn out? If they are not then you do not need another pair so quickly. Remember, this is a benefit, not an entitlement.
I have to miss a lot of social events because the shoes you make me wear for my brace are so ugly. Can’t you find anything else I can wear?
Remember the benefits of wearing the brace. If you can walk better, are more comfortable, have avoided surgery, or have achieved any other benefit, then go out in your ugly shoes and don’t worry about it. Your friends miss you, not your pretty shoes.
I have never before had to have this much paperwork from my doctor in order to get a pair of shoes. Why are you making me get all of it?
Medicare rules and regulations change every year. One of the ways that they eliminate fraud and abuse is to make us get our paperwork in order which makes sure that you qualify for the benefit. We don’t like it either, but we don’t like companies that abuse the system even more. This ruins it for everyone.