Are all orthotics created equally?

Are all orthotics created equally?

Short answer: NO!

But what actually is the difference?

So what actually is the difference?

Over-the-counter or store purchased inserts can add some cushioning and support, but they don't address the foot issues/biomechanics of the individual. They are an “arch support” which gently pushes your arch up a little.

These days, unfortunately there are many “arch support” and “insole” products available that advertise as “custom-made”. These are often pre packaged and sold according to your shoe size. Unless the device has been prescribed after a full assessment of the foot, and then crafted for your specific foot, it's a prefabricated insert and not a custom made device. If you have been given inserts in the same appointment that you decided to go ahead… I hate to break it to you, but they likely are not custom made.

Similar to glasses, custom foot orthotics are made for you, and you only. They are not designed to push your arch up, they are designed to change the mechanics of your foot when you are standing and walking. Custom orthoses match your exact foot, and are prescribed with your condition and specific biomechanics in mind.

How are custom foot orthotics made?

Here at Foot Right Podiatry, we create a 3D digital image of your foot using a 3D scanner. This is done with you lying down (ie non weight bearing) in order to accurately capture the contours of your foot. We prefer to take a non weight bearing scan over a weight bearing scan as when you stand your foot shape changes and the impression is not as accurate as it could be.

After undertaking extensive testing to assess your condition, and learning about your lifestyle activities, we design a prescription that is made specifically for you. We then send a prescription and 3D impression to our lab where they heat mould and vacuum press the materials to the model of your foot.

Depending on your foot, your weight, your foot pain the materials will differ. Some people require a highly cushioning device and some people require more control. Your Podiatrist will be able to advise you on what will be best for you. After a few weeks, (or earlier if it is urgent!) we will fit your orthotics into your shoes and ensure that everything is functioning correctly.

Who would benefit from custom foot orthotics?

Custom foot orthotics are used to treat many foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, ankle pain, arthritis, bunions, swelling, limb length discrepancy, and heel pain.

Unlike prefabricated shoe inserts, custom foot orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist treat medical conditions. This means that your Health Fund may cover some of the cost.

Before you decide on purchasing an insole from the chemist or other retailer, book in for a Biomechanical Assessment for us to evaluate your feet. Not everyone requires a custom made device and many people do not require any device at all! In fact, some people will find store bought insoles actually increase their pain, not reduce it!