Chronic foot pain can drastically affect how you live your life. If your foot pain is limiting your mobility, making everyday tasks difficult, or keeping you from doing the things you love, it may be time to consider custom orthotics.
What are foot orthotics?
If you suffer from foot pain issues that require extra support, foot orthotics may help provide pain relief and improve foot health. While over-the-counter orthotics, insoles, and shoe inserts provide general padding and support, people with underlying foot conditions or chronic foot pain who don’t find relief from these nonprescription options may find relief with custom orthotics.
Unlike mass-produced shoe inserts, custom orthotics are medical devices that are individually crafted to perfectly match the unique shape of your foot and provide the corrective support you need to alleviate pain and get you back on your feet. There are two categories of prescription orthotics – semi-ridged functional orthotics designed to control abnormal motion and the more malleable accommodative orthotics designed to provide cushioning and support.
Custom orthotics address foot issues through strategic correction, support, and cushioning based on your personal foot anatomy and medical needs. They redistribute weight, ease painful pressure points, and improve alignment issues causing impairment or injuries such as foot drop. Made correctly to your medical specifications, prescription orthotics help rehabilitate damaged feet.
Common Conditions Helped by Custom Orthotics
While foot orthotics aren’t the solution for all foot problems that cause pain, they can be an important part of the treatment plan for these common conditions:
- Flat feet (pes planus)
- High arches (pes cavus)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Bone spurs
- Diabetic neuropathy
Getting a Custom Fit with 3D Scanning Services
The first step in getting a custom insole is having your feet properly measured and scanned by a podiatrist or orthotist. To do so, your doctor will use advanced 3D foot scanning to get highly precise images of your feet. This digital foot impression captures detailed anatomical information like arch height and exact foot dimensions and maps pressure points and problem areas needing extra cushioning or support.
A 3D orthotic scanner produces far more accurate results than the traditional method of making physical plaster casts (and keeps you from having to stand still for several minutes with your feet encased in soggy, drying plaster). The detailed 3D images from laser foot scanning are then used to design fully customized orthotics tailored to your feet.
Custom Foot Orthotics FAQs
How much do custom orthotics cost and are they worth the money?
If designed and crafted correctly, custom orthotics can provide life-changing pain relief for people suffering from many painful foot conditions. By supporting arches and correcting misalignments, quality orthotics can soothe not only chronic foot pain but also related heel, knee, hip, and back pain.
However, custom orthotics can be a significant investment, with costs ranging from $500 to $1,500 depending on your podiatrist’s recommendation, orthotic provider, and health insurance.
Thankfully, most major medical insurance plans cover a portion of custom orthotic costs if prescribed by a podiatrist or orthotic specialist. Depending on your insurance, you may need to submit documentation showing medical necessity along with a letter of medical necessity from your podiatrist. This is often the case for conditions like diabetes-related neuropathy and foot deformities requiring corrective orthotics.
Even without insurance, paying out-of-pocket for custom orthotics is worthwhile for many people who suffer from chronic foot-related impairment and pain. Having happy, pain-free feet helps you stay active and healthy while reducing the risk of joint degeneration and mobility disability down the road.
Can I still wear dress shoes or work boots with custom orthotics?
Dress shoes and work boots often lack athletic shoes’ comfort and support. Fortunately, if you’re required to wear specific shoes for work, custom orthotics can be used in nearly any shoe type to reduce heel pain and other shoe-related pain.
Be sure to bring your doctor the shoes you plan to wear with your custom orthotics so they can account for variables such as heel height, width, toe box size, etc. Orthotics for dress shoes and boots may need a lower profile and minimal arch contouring to accommodate slimmer silhouettes. For the best comfort and to get the most out of your foot orthotics, always wear your custom inserts with the shoes specified for their design.
How long do custom orthotics last?
With periodic maintenance like top cover replacements, custom orthotics typically last 2 to 5 years with regular daily wear. Ultimately, orthotic lifespan comes down to the frequency of wear, body weight, and activity levels. Perspiration can also break down adhesives and materials over time. If you start to develop pain, corns, or calluses, or notice uneven wear on your shoes or visible damage to the orthotic, it’s time for a replacement.
Give Custom Foot Orthotics a Try
In the realm of foot health, custom orthotics can be a personalized and effective solution to chronic foot pain. With advancements in 3D scanning services, the process of obtaining custom orthotics has become more accessible and accurate than ever. While the initial cost may be a barrier, the long-term benefits – including pain relief, better foot health, and improved mobility – make custom orthotics a worthwhile investment.