If you’ve spent any time rifling through stocks of mass-produced inserts and insoles at your local drug store, you’ve probably heard some big promises. The marketing for these products gets slicker every year, with claims like “anti-fatiguing technology,” buzzwords like “double-layer” and “medical-grade,” and names like “performance,” “professional,” and “premium.”
Considering you can pick up a seemingly sophisticated insole for $20-$50, it’s natural to wonder whether it’s worth it to spend the extra money on a custom orthotic. Are they really that much better?
The short answer: Yes, they are.
That’s not to say that over-the-counter inserts don’t have their merits. If all you need is a little extra cushioning or support for minor aches, the right insert can provide adequate, temporary relief. However, no mass-produced insole can properly treat a diagnosable medical condition, or come close to offering the same level of performance and function as an orthotic that has been individually custom-made to fit the exact shape of your foot.
Besides offering better performance, custom orthotics have other advantages over store insoles. In addition to providing cushioning and support, certain custom orthotics can also be constructed to control irregular motion—for example, to fix overpronation or correct an irregular gait.
Furthermore, while custom orthotics are more expensive than store-bought insoles, their higher cost is further mitigated by two additional significant factors. First, custom orthotics are built to last. While an ordinary pair of drug store insoles might give you no more than a few months of sufficient use before they wear down, a custom orthotic that is well cared for can last years. Second, custom orthotics may be covered at least partially by your insurance, reducing the initial purchase price.
If you’re still not sure what type of insert would be best for you (if any), visit the Austin Foot & Ankle Specialists for a careful evaluation and honest opinion. Our only goal is getting you the effective treatment you need so you can live your life without pain. Request an appointment online, or give us a call today at (512) 328-8900.