There is an age-old debate about which are better for your feet, custom-made orthotics or over-the-counter shoe inserts. Each serves their purpose in making your feet more comfortable. However, custom orthotics can do what regular shoe inserts cannot, and sometimes it is a wise investment to make.
Over- the-Counter Shoe Inserts
A shoe insert can be purchased at almost any pharmacy or grocery store. These devices range in quality and composition. They offer a wide range of purposes including:
- Arch supports help people who either have flatfeet or high arches by supporting the foot’s natural arch or giving extra cushioning where there is no arch.
- Insoles give you extra cushioning inside your shoes.
- Heel liners are beneficial for people who have thin skin around their heels, for example elderly people. They cushion and give support.
- Foot cushions protect your feet from rubbing against your shoes and causing blisters by acting as a barrier.
Before purchasing an over-the-counter shoe insert, consider your health, what the activity is that you’ll be doing when you’re using it, whether it will fit in your shoes, and if it is comfortable when you are wearing it. It is always best to speak with our expert staff about shoe fitting and comfort before adding any type of insert to your shoes.
There are two different types of custom orthotics.
- Functional are used to control your foot’s range of motion. They are used to heal a problem such as shin splints or to prevent the recurrence of a problem.
- Accommodative are used for providing extra cushioning and support. They are typically used on patients with diabetic foot ulcers or painful calluses or blisters.
Only a doctor can prescribe a custom-made orthotic. It is unique to you and your foot, unlike a shoe insert that anyone can use. This is a true investment because they do typically cost more money than a drug store insert, but they will fix a problem in the long-term and not just ease the pain for a little bit. These orthotics should last you many years depending on how well you take care of them and how much you wear them.
When Should You Make the Investment?
There are several times in which making the long-term investment of a custom orthotic is necessary. If you have diabetes with peripheral neuropathy, you will most likely be under the care of a podiatrist. They will help you make the best decision for the health of your feet, and that will most likely include wearing an orthotic. If you are suffering from extreme pain and discomfort, a shoe insert might not be enough to end your discomfort. In such cases, an orthotic may be exactly what you need to fix the problem.
Call for Medical Help
Call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (888) 616-2512 to schedule a consultation regarding custom-made orthotics. At any one of our three Massachusetts office locations, we can help diagnose the problem and get you the treatment you need. This may include the use of an orthotic fit especially to your feet.