Are Custom Orthotics Worth the Price?
Many patients have reservations buying custom orthotics when they can purchase an inexpensive insole from the local drug store. This week, I thought I’d talk about the available options, and the differences between the two products.
Custom Orthotics, while more expensive, are designed for you based upon an impression of your foot. There are various ways to take an impression of your foot, with most podiatrists using either the traditional plaster slipper cast, or a newer 3D scanner. These impressions are sent, along with special instructions, to labs that specialize in making orthotics. The podiatrist can specify the material the orthotics are to be made out of, the requested length of the orthotic, and modifications for specific conditions like a neuroma pad, all according to patient need and preference.
Over the counter insoles, while much less expensive, are not customizable. Instead of making an orthotic directly for your foot, you have to choose from a variety of standard options which one would work best for you. There are many different brands of insoles, and some brands are better than others. Different products aim to treat different conditions, and so it may be difficult to find an insole that has all the corrections you might need.
Some people with minor foot problems may be able to get away with purchasing a prefabricated device. But for those with more advanced deformities, or conditions such as diabetes, there is no replacement for a custom orthotic. You can think of custom orthotics as an investment in your foot health; while they might be expensive, they last a long time and offer more than their over the counter counterparts.