Lots of patients in our office ask, "What is the difference between an orthotic and a simple arch suppoprt? Why should I spend that much more money when I can go to Wal-mart?" This is a great question with a simple, but yet complex answer.
As opposed to an arch support that can be purchased at many stores, an orthotic has some distinct advantages:
- Orthotics are designed to last for years, instead of months from an arch support.
- An arch support (and most shoes) are designed for the average foot, but an orthotic is custom made for your foot.
- Although an arch support will provide support to the arch, the orthotic supports the entire foot and cradles the heel.
- An arch support may flatten with running or increased pressure, where an orthotic will be firm and maintain the position of the foot.
- An orthotic actually improves or optimizes walking or running patterns by rotating the foot into "neutral position". In this position, the foot functions at the highest level.
Bottom line: If your doctor says you need a custom foot orthotic, there is a distinct performance difference between an orthotic and a simple arch support. Believe me, your feet will thank you!