You know that feeling you get when somebody gets you the perfect gift—the feeling that it was specially made just for you? Custom orthotics are like that, except for your feet. Unlike mass-produced insoles, custom orthotics are created from a precise mold or scan of your feet—literally made just for you! As a result, they can provide much more effective and lasting pain relief than store-bought alternatives.
The Value of Custom Orthotics: Are They Really Worth It?
The short answer: yes!
The longer answer? Because they’re made to fit your feet exactly, and come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, custom orthotics can help significantly reduce pain and stress on the feet. Orthotics can be used for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from deformities (like bunions and flat feet), to diabetic wounds and ulcers, to sports injuries. They can even help correct problems with how your feet move and turn. We frequently prescribe orthotics for these reasons, and more, and in many cases they’re going to do a vastly better job than anything you could buy yourself off the rack. In fact, by bringing your whole body into better alignment, custom orthotics often result in significantly reduced knee, hip, and back pain as well.
That said, we won’t prescribe them if you don’t need them. Sometimes, a simpler store-bought or prefabricated insert might do the trick for you, especially if your pain is less severe and you only need extra cushioning, rather than motion correction. Each foot needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
It is true that a good set of orthotics are much pricier than the pharmacy-rack alternative—in some cases a few hundred dollars vs. $10 or less. However, the financial proposition is closer than it appears: a good pair of custom orthotics can last years and provide much better pain relief, while cheap inserts must be replaced much more frequently. Insurance may also cover at least a portion of your custom orthotics, as well.