committed to Quality Orthotic, Prosthetic and Pedorthic Care - A Public Service of The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics

Pedorthic Care FAQs

What is pedorthics?

Pedorthics is the science and practice of evaluating, fabricating and delivery of footwear and foot orthoses to prevent or improve painful or disabling conditions of the foot and ankle caused by disease, congenital defect, overuse or injury. The word pedorthics first appeared in medical dictionaries in 1980, although the field itself began to emerge in the late 1950's after World War II and an outbreak of polio created a need to deal with foot trauma and deformities.

What is a pedorthist?

A pedorthist is an allied healthcare professional who is specifically educated and trained to manage comprehensive patient care for orthotic needs that originate from the ankle and below. This includes patient assessment, formation of a treatment plan, implementation of the treatment plan, follow-up and practice management.

What is a Certified Pedorthist (C.Ped.)?

ABC Certified Pedorthists are healthcare professional that have demonstrated knowledge and competence in the field of pedorthics. Their qualifications have been tested and accepted by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics (ABC) and they are required to participate in continuing education programs.

What does a C.Ped. do?

An ABC Certified Pedorthist directs and supervises the provision and application of pedorthic devices for the prevention or improvement of painful and/or disabling conditions of the foot and ankle. A prescription is required for any pedorthic device or prefabricated below-the-knee orthosis addressing a medical condition that originates at the ankle or below. To provide this care effectively and comprehensively, ABC Certified Pedorthists have specialized education and skills that enable them to match current and emerging pedorthic techniques and technology to their patients’ needs and goals. They form and implement a pedorthic treatment plan, provide follow-up care, and coordinate services with related medical professionals and the patient’s rehabilitation team.

ABC Certified Pedorthists can provide devices and footwear to assist in:

  • Accommodating foot deformities
  • Re-alignment of anatomical structures
  • Redistribution of external and internal forces
  • Improvement of balance
  • Control of biomechanical function
  • Accommodating special circulatory requirements
  • Enhancement of the actions of limbs compromised as a result of accident, congenital deformity, neural condition or disease

How can patients find an ABC Certified Pedorthist?

ABC offers a free searchable database of its Certified Pedorthists (C.Peds) and accredited facilities to assist patients in finding a qualified pedorthic professional and facility.

When considering a pedorthist’s credentials, patients should look for:

  • completion of specific pedorthic education and clinical experience
  • passage of a written examination
  • completion of ongoing continuing education courses

A pedorthist’s certification should always be verified, as this is an indication of qualifications. As a C.Ped., these individuals are bound by ABC’s standards of ethics, making them accountable to the patient, the physician and the profession.

How can patients find a facility that works best for them?

Picking the right facility is just as important as picking the right pedorthist.

Patients should consider a few questions:

  • Is the facility accredited? ABC operates a stringent accreditation program that indicates that the facility meets strict quality guidelines. Medicare requires that all pedorthic facilities be accredited in order to receive reimbursement. Be sure to check the accreditation status of the facility you choose.
  • Does the pedorthist have experience or additional training working with different age groups or specific types of therapeutic devices? As techniques and technology in pedorthics advance, pedorthists have to keep up with the changes by attending continuing education courses or conferences, make sure the pedorthist you choose is keeping up to date.
  • How convenient is the facility? While this might not be a final factor, patients should know that a good treatment plan will often include multiple visits, so it is helpful to consider a facility’s proximity and office hours.

Before deciding on a pedorthist or facility, patients should:

  • tour the facility, meet the staff and talk with the pedorthist
  • discuss possible treatment options and get a sense of how the pedorthist will approach their individual situation

What is the difference between a podiatrist and a pedorthist?

A podiatrist is a licensed medical professional that can prescribe medications, perform surgery, etc.  

A pedorthist works exclusively with the foot and ankle but does not diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, injury or defect. By working closely with the patient's podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon or general practitioner, the pedorthist can improve most foot conditions and help to maintain the patient's walking.

What are pedorthic devices?

Pedorthic devices refer to therapeutic shoes, shoe modifications, below-the-ankle partial foot prostheses and foot orthoses. They also include subtalar-control foot orthoses (SCFO) designed to manage the function of the anatomy by primarily controlling the range of motion of the subtalar joint.

Do patients need a prescription from a physician to get a pedorthic device?

Yes, patients are required to have a physician's prescription before their pedorthic devices can be made. However, prescriptions are not needed for initial evaluations.

How does the process of working with a pedorthist begin?

If a patient requires pedorthic services, a pedorthist works with the patient’s healthcare team (including his or her physician) to develop the best pedorthic plan of care and to make and fit the most appropriate device to address that patient’s unique goals. Once a patient’s physician has determined what kind of assistance is needed, a pedorthist selects and modifies footwear and/or pedorthic devices to help patients regain mobility and relieve specific conditions.

What is a therapeutic shoe fitter and how do they participate in patient care?

A therapeutic shoe fitter is a health care professional who often works with a pedorthist in providing care. An individual certified by ABC as a Certified Fitter - therapeutic shoes is a professional who is specifically educated and trained to provide non-custom therapeutic shoes and non-custom multi-density inserts, including patient assessment, formulation of a treatment plan, implementation of the treatment plan, follow-up and practice management.


Better Care = Better Outcomes ©