Orthotics: Custom vs. Over-the-Counter
By contactus@hendersonpodiatry.com
June 11, 2018
Category: foot pain
Tags: orthotics   foot pain   heel pain  

Orthotics are devices added to footwear that help alleviate pain, improve walking gait, reduce the risk of ulcers, and promote stability.  Orthotics provide support to the heels, arches, and balls of the feet.  They come in a variety of materials and lengths, depending on the manufacturer.  Pricing ranges greatly with orthotics.  Over-the -counter inserts are less costly than a prescribed pair of custom orthotics but, wear out much faster.  So, which is better for you?  Read more below on the comparisons of the two.

Over-the-Counter (OTC)

This type of orthotic can easily be found at any drugstore or shoe retailer.  The orthotics are made for the “general” population assuming all feet are the same.  They typically last three to nine months depending on the wearer and the quality of the shoe in which they are being used.  They can be helpful with alleviating acute foot or ankle problems.  OTC orthotics typically provide extra cushion with a foam or gel material.  While they are cost-effective up front, one must consider the constant cost of replacing them every few months.

Custom Prescription Orthotics

Custom orthotics are prescribed by a podiatrist, following a thorough examination.  Custom orthotics provide comfort while also correcting gait mechanics.  State-of-the-art digital technology is used to scan each foot separately.  The scan is then sent to a laboratory where an orthotic is created based on the topography of each foot.  Since these are specially made, the material used for them is much more durable and typically will last five to ten years.  While the cost up front is greater than an OTC insert, in the long run, the custom orthotics are more cost-effective. 

Almost everyone can benefit from a good orthotic.  Whether the issue be acute (short term) or chronic (long lasting), orthotics help correct walking mechanics while providing support.  Orthotics are especially helpful for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, diabetic ulcers, and general foot and heel pain.  If you have more questions regarding orthotics and inserts, contact our office today!

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