There are many reasons your podiatrist will recommend extra support for your feet. A few common reasons include management of foot pain, balancing high-pressure areas, supporting feet that roll excessively inwards (pronating) or outwards (supinating).
There are two choices when deciding on the type of orthotic to fit
- Custom orthotics (prescribed and fitted by your podiatrist)
- Inserts that are pre-made (also known as off-the-shelf orthotics)
Off-the-shelf orthotics are usually matched to your shoe size and then trimmed to fit. They offer a generic arch profile and offer heel support. They come in a variety of materials, are relatively low cost and easily available. You can expect them to last around 6-12 months depending on the quality of materials used. They can be beneficial when you have a ‘classic’ foot shape, with symmetry between both feet and no major biomechanical concerns.
Custom orthotics are individualized and made to your feet and shoes. They can incorporate specific support and control features that are not included in off-the-shelf orthotics. Your podiatrist will measure and prescribe your orthotics, which are then made by an orthotic laboratory. Different shoes can require a unique fitting, such as boots, dress shoes, sneakers, football boots, heels and even ice skates! With a variety of material choices your individual needs and biomechanical factors can be addressed. Due to the uniqueness of these orthotics, the process is usually takes 1-2 weeks and the cost is greater than off-the-shelf. On average they provide longer foot health benefits (some are over 5 years old!).
It is best to speak with your podiatrist when deciding on which option is best for your feet and overall wellbeing.
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