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What are Prescription Custom Orthotics?


I have often been asked what the difference is between a custom orthotic and a shoe insert. Custom orthotics are specifically made devices designed to support, brace and biomechanically correct your feet. Prescription custom orthotics are crafted and specifically made for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you walk. Orthotics are only manufactured after a Podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, so the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.

Custom prescribed and fabricated orthotics are divided into two types. Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion. They may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion and treat injuries such as tendonitis, shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Functional orthotics are usually made of a semi rigid material such as plastic or graphite. Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide cushioning and support. They are used to treat Diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses and other uncomfortable conditions.

We use orthotics to treat all kinds of foot problems such as bursitis, plantar fasciitis, diabetic foot ulcers, foot and ankle pain. Orthotics typically cost more than shoe inserts purchased in a store, but the additional cost is usually well worth it. Unlike shoe inserts, orthotics are molded to fit each individual foot, so you can be sure that your orthotics fit and do what they’re supposed to do. Prescription orthotics are also made of top notch materials and last many years when cared for properly. Some insurances often help pay for prescription orthotics.

Shoe inserts are any kind of non-prescription foot support designed to be worn inside of a shoe. Mass produced, pre-packaged arch supports are shoe inserts. Unless the device has been prescribed and specifically crafted to your foot by your Podiatrist, it’s a shoe insert, not a custom orthotic device.

So if you are looking for extra cushioning, you may wish to try an over the counter shoe insert first. However, if you have a serious pain, discomfort or deformity schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. We will assess your overall health and look for other contributing factors. Today’s podiatrists are specifically trained to evaluate the biomechanics of the lower extremity. We will examine your feet and how you walk, and assess the movement and function of your lower extremity. If orthotics are needed we will capture a 3 dimensional cast or image of your feet to create a unique set of custom prescribed orthotics that will improve your foot movement, function and lead to more comfort and mobility.

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