There are two general categories when it comes to orthotics:
- Non-custom orthotics are a shoe insert that one can purchase without being fitted. These non-custom inserts work great for some people. These over-the-counter (OTC) inserts are also trendy retail items. You can find them at the drug store, department store and specialty retail stores. You'll notice they are advertised by symptom: "inserts for heel pain, back pain, arthritis, etc." That's because they are tailoring the patient self diagnosing with Dr. Google. We're all guilty of it! At FAANT, our patients see a doctor and are examined, evaluated and recommended the best possible insert, and further we can modify the insert to be semi-custom to the patient's comfort. That way our patients are confident they're in the correct orthotics. It can be dangerous to be in the wrong shoes and inserts, it can destabilize and cause more injury to our feet and lower body alignment. Our team at Healthy Steps fit our patients in the perfect insert for their feet, and even help choose styles of shoes to go along with it. A quality OTC insert can not only alleviate pains, but can protect and prevent excess wear and tear to our joints, muscles and even our skin from cracks, calluses and ulcers.
- Custom inserts are unique to each patient. They can be made with a scanner, foam box, or by hand molding. Even if a patient doesn't have an injury, a custom orthotic can help minimize their chance for injury or arthritis in the future. Why? Well most of us have some mechanical or structural instability that puts strain on our muscles and tendons, often times even effecting our back and knees. For athletes, a custom orthotic can help them be more efficient and often times faster because they are put the most efficient position. Custom orthotics can be made specialized to most shoes, including dress and specific sports (i.e. lacrosse). The picture below is a Cobra insert and an example of a light weight, sleek yet supportive custom insert. Our FAANT doctors hand mold the shape of the patient's foot with fiberglass or plaster. We write a prescription that puts unique personalized accommodations for the patient's issue and it gets sent away to a specialty lab. A lot of work goes into a custom insert and for many people they are a mainstay to fend off re-injuries, keep correction after surgery and arthritis. Let us know if you have questions and we'll see you soon!
Cobra insert photographed in our office.