Do I Really Need Custom Orthotics?

custom orthotics

We get it. We’re all on the lookout to save a few bucks where we can. The off-brand cereal that tastes just as good for half the cost. The barely-used designer jacket that pops up at the local thrift store. That comfy chair that granddad doesn’t want any more. All great ways to get deluxe quality at bargain prices.

So when you’re facing a rack of slick-looking “orthotics” at the pharmacy—maybe even next to a foot pressure monitor promising a “custom fit”—it’s natural to wonder whether you really need to get a pair of custom orthotics from a podiatrist. Couldn’t you just get by on a cheaper, mass-produced insert?

Truthfully, only a foot expert can answer that question fully. But unlike “off-brand” food products or gently used clothes and furniture, prefabricated orthotics and custom orthotics are not just cheaper versions of the same basic tool. There is a significant gap between what each item can realistically achieve.

To start, custom orthotics are made to fit your feet exactly. Even if you stand on a testing kiosk and a computer tells you which “custom fit” you need, the truth is that store-bought insoles just aren’t in the same league. The best you will get is an approximate fit. This may provide some moderate relief from the extra cushioning and arch support, but for more serious foot pain you’ll almost certainly notice the difference.

Custom orthotics, unlike regular inserts, are meant to treat specific medical conditions. At your appointment, your foot specialist with carefully examine your feet and arrive at a diagnosis. We’ll also measure your feet using a scan or mold in order to create a precise fit. The type of orthotics, materials used, and other features can be selected based on the specific needs revealed during your examination. And of course, when your completed orthotics arrive, we can make a few final adjustments as necessary to ensure a perfect match.

Custom orthotics are also much more durable than generic inserts, so in addition to better performance, they also prove the better financial value over the long run. They’re a little more expensive up front, but they work better, you won’t have to replace them as often, and they can often be repaired or adjusted rather than junked when materials wear down or your needs change.

So, do you really need those custom orthotics? Again, it’s impossible to say without an evaluation. It’s possible that ordinary inserts—despite their limitations—may provide acceptable relief for your condition. This is more likely to be the case if your pain is milder, or more temporary. However, in a lot of cases, the custom orthotics really will perform much better, and be the better choice by most if not all measures.

Ready to find relief for your foot and ankle pain? Give Kevin J. Powers, DPM in Bloomington, IN a call today at (812) 333-4422.