If your feet ache after a long day, it’s tempting to try off-the-shelf inserts for your shoes, but is that the best solution? Off-the-shelf orthotics might be convenient, but they won’t deliver the personalized support that custom orthotics do.
Here at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey, our expert podiatrists are skilled when it comes to fitting specialized orthotics to your feet. That’s why we created this guide to shed light on the differences between custom orthotics and off-the-shelf orthotics.
What are over-the-counter (OTC) orthotics?
Many people refer to OTC orthotics as inserts, gel pads, or arch supports. OTC orthotics are readily available in most pharmacies, and they are intended to:
- Reduce foot pain
- Reduce heel pain
- Stabilize your feet
- Reduce the stress load on your feet
- Alleviate arch pain
Some inserts are small and cover the heel portion of your shoe, while others cover the whole insole. Regardless, OTC inserts aren’t customized to you. You may need to trim your insert to fit your shoe properly.
Most OTC inserts are made of gel and/or foam, and you can expect to replace these somewhat frequently (every 6-12 months), depending on how often you wear them.
That being said, OTC orthotics might be enough to tide you over while you wait for your custom orthotics, but know that OTC orthotics aren’t medical devices and can’t be used to treat medical conditions.
What are custom orthotics?
Custom orthotics are prescription medical devices designed to correct biomechanical issues. Custom orthotics don’t just prevent foot pain, but they also can help treat certain food conditions, such as bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, flat feet, corns, calluses, and hammertoe. Custom orthotics are also beneficial for those with diabetes, because orthotics can help reduce your risk of developing a foot ulcer.
Custom orthotics can provide all of these benefits because they are much more than just inserts. Custom orthotics can come in many forms such as shoe inserts, foot pads, ankle braces, arch supports, insoles, and heel liners. Some of these options may be rigid, which promotes good ankle alignment and corrects your gait.
Other benefits of custom orthotics include:
- Customized fit 一 each pair is made from a mold of your foot
- Designed to reduce pain
- Designed to treat certain medical conditions
- Designed to fix issues with how you run or walk
- Potentially postpone (or avoid) surgery by fixing underlying foo conditions
Don’t settle for an OTC insert. Find out more about the benefits of custom orthotics and give your feet the TLC they deserve. Book an appointment in our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, today. You can also reach us at 856-266-9572.