Glossary – Pedorthic Terminology

This glossary has been prepared by the Pedorthic Association of Canada for extended health benefits providers and third-party agencies. This glossary provides a list of key terms and definitions commonly used in pedorthic practice. Questions regarding specific products and services offered by a Canadian Certified Pedorthist – including items not listed here – should be discussed directly with the pedorthist.

Basic Terminology

A three-dimensional (volumetric) model designed to capture the specific contours of the plantar aspect of the foot. Acceptable casting techniques are foam box casting, plaster slipper casting, a casting sock, wax slipper casting, contact digitizing, and optical/laser scanning. A two-dimensional footprint from a pedograph or pressure-sensitive mat does not qualify as a cast.
The term is reserved to define a product fabricated from a three-dimensional model of the foot which captures bony alignment and shape, and is manufactured from raw materials. A device must be fabricated from a “cast” and footwear must be fabricated from a “last” unique to the patient to qualify as custom-made.
Direct-moulded (non-casted)
Refers to a device moulded directly to the foot from raw materials that are warmed until soft. This device can be further modified and used to provide cushioning, deliver pressure relief, redistribute load, and accommodate deformity (a self-moulded product is not considered direct-moulded).
Gait analysis
The observation of the entire body with a focus on lower extremity to determine deviations in alignment, movement patterns, and symmetry during walking. This may be done visually or through video recording.
A three-dimensional (volumetric) model designed to capture the specific contours of the entire foot. Acceptable techniques are plaster casting, casting sock, and optical/laser scanning. A two-dimensional footprint, foam cast, slipper cast, or contact digitizing are not acceptable techniques.
A mass-produced, pre-fabricated/over-the-counter device that has been altered by the addition or removal of material in order to modify movement or accommodate pain or dysfunction.
Pedorthic assessment
The assessment of lower limb bony alignment, posture, movement patterns, general function of the foot, and the interaction of the foot with the rest of the body. Typically a pedorthic assessment includes a history taking, postural analysis, musculoskeletal examination, functional testing, gait analysis, and footwear consultation.
Pre-fabricated OTC (over-the-counter) or stock
Refers to mass-produced devices and footwear that are not unique to the patient.
Refers to a mass-produced, pre-fabricated/over-the-counter device that can be heated and moulded directly to the foot.

Products Provided



Custom foot orthoses (orthotics)

An internal foot appliance that is manufactured from a three-dimensional image of the foot, and made from raw materials. A custom foot orthosis can accommodate bony deformities and/or modify the movement pattern of the foot and lower limb.

Custom-made footwear

Footwear that is manufactured from a three-dimensional mould of the foot and ankle, and made of raw materials. Custom-made footwear is specifically designed for each individual. It is usually needed when stock footwear will not fit due to deformity, or will not suit the patient due to significant dysfunction.

Custom-made toe splint

A device manufactured from a raw material (typically a silicon-like material) designed to re-align, separate, or support a deformed or deviated toe or toes.

Orthopaedic footwear

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Specialty Footwear/Braces/Splints



Arch brace

Off-the-shelf device designed to support the medial longitudinal arch or metatarsal of the foot. Often used to replace taping or strapping. It can be useful for patients who do not need custom-made devices, or who are unable to wear footwear for specific activities.

Forefoot relief shoe

Single footwear device that decreases or eliminates external pressure to the plantar surface of the forefoot. Useful as a post-operative choice following forefoot surgery or as a device to protect an ulcerated area of the forefoot.


Footwear designed to cover shoes, boots, and sandals to protect them from the elements; may also include insulating properties. An overboot allows the patient to continue their use of specific footwear and orthotic devices during inclement weather.

Plantar fasciitis (dorsiflexion) night splint

Off-the-shelf brace, fit for the patient and designed to maintain the ankle and forefoot in a dorsiflexed position during sleep. It is useful in the treatment of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and a number of other conditions involving the range of motion of the ankle. It can also be custom-made as per prescription.

Post-op shoe(s)

Footwear designed to accommodate swelling, dressings, and possible hardware present following an operation. Typically sold individually, post-op shoes may be used as a pair following bilateral surgery. May also be used to help establish equal heel heights when regular footwear cannot be worn.

Rearfoot relief shoe

Single footwear device that decreases or eliminates external pressure to the plantar surface of the rearfoot. Useful as a post-operative choice following rearfoot surgery or as a device to protect an ulcerated area of the rearfoot.

Rocker-soled walking brace

A walking boot designed to treat ankle and foot disorders resulting from a systemic disease or injury, as well as after surgery.

Toe alignment splint

Off-the-shelf device designed to re-align the great and lesser toes. Useful in the treatment of flexible deformities of the toes such as hammer toes, mallet toes, claw toes, bunions, and over-crossing toes.

Toe splints/pads/cushions

Off-the-shelf devices designed to cushion, align, or accommodate bony deformities. These items are often used to stave off surgical intervention.

Stockings, Hosiery, and Specialty Socks



Gel socks

Hosiery containing a layer of silicon-like material on the bottom. Often prescribed and used by individuals with diabetes, various forms of arthritis, and fat pad degeneration.

Medical compression stockings

The basic treatment for chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema. Treatment of venous problems depends on the severity of the condition. The greater the severity, the higher the prescribed compression. Compression is graduated, strongest at the ankle with decreasing compression up the leg. This design compresses dilated veins to help move blood up the legs and back to the heart. If swelling of the foot and lower leg is not controlled, the fit of a shoe is compromised and could lead to additional complications.

Seamless socks

Hosiery that contains no seams exposed to the skin. Often prescribed and used by individuals with diabetes, various forms of arthritis, and dermatological conditions.

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