What’s the Difference Between a Shoe Insert and a Custom Orthotic Device?
Shoe inserts are non-prescription foot support devices. They are worn inside the shoe. These include pre-packaged inserts and “custom-made” inserts that you may order from a retail store or online.
Custom orthotic devices are prescribed by a doctor and are crafted for your specific foot. They are only created after a podiatrist has completed a thorough evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, as well as the way you move as you walk. Custom orthotics are crafted just for your feet and no one else’s, following the contours of your feet and made to accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.
While shoe inserts can be helpful for many foot ailments, like flat arches, or foot/leg pain, or simple cushioning of your feet for more comfort, shoe inserts can’t correct biomechanical foot problems or fix chronic foot issues.
What Are the Common Types of Shoe Inserts?
There are several types of shoe inserts. The most common include:
What Should You Look for in an Over-the-counter Shoe Insert?
Looking at the overwhelming variety of shoe inserts available can make choosing the right product feel like an impossible task. These are some podiatrist-tested tips for finding the insert that works for you.
What Are Your Options for Prescription Custom Orthotics in Utah?
There are two categories of prescription orthotic devices. The first type, called functional orthotics, are designed to counter abnormal motion. They can be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motions during walking/running, or to treat injuries like shin splints and tendinitis. Functional orthotics are normally made using a semirigid material, like plastic or graphite.
The second type of prescription custom orthotics are accommodative orthotics. These are softer and made to give more cushioning and support. These orthotics are used to treat painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, diabetic foot ulcers, and other conditions that cause pain or discomfort.
Custom orthotics are used by Utah podiatrists to treat many foot problems, including bursitis (inflammation of the cushioning sac between muscles, tendons, and joints), tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons), diabetic foot ulcers (an open sore that refuses to heal), plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the thick tissue that connects the toes to the heel and creates your arch), as well as other foot, ankle, and heel pains. Podiatrist-prescribed custom foot orthotics have been shown to decrease foot pain and improved function through clinical research studies.
Even though orthotics normally cost more than oner-the-counter shoe inserts, the extra benefits of support molded to your unique foot make the expense worth it. You will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing the orthotics were designed just for your needs and will provide exactly the support they are supposed to. Orthotics are also made of superior materials so they will last many years when taken care of. Insurance can often help pay for prescription orthotics as well.
When Should You Us About Custom Orthotics or Shoe Inserts?
Depending on what you are looking for in a shoe insert, you may not need to visit us first. Simple support or extra cushioning can successfully be provided by a shoe insert. However, if you are experiencing serious pain or discomfort, or if the inserts don’t seem to be helping, or if the pain stays for a long period of time, you should schedule a visit with us. We will examine your general health for contributing factors, and assess your feet and how you walk. After listening to your concerns and ailments, they will complete a study of the function of your lower extremities. We are specially trained to evaluate the workings of the feet and ankles. Some use advanced technology to examine how your feet
work while you are walking or running.
After gathering all of this information, we will be able to suggest either shoe inserts that will help, or recommend custom orthotics. If you need orthotics, then they will use a 3D image of each of your feet. These images and the measurements taken, will be used to create unique foot supports that will assist your feet while moving and provide added support and comfort. We will also be able to recommend other treatments, such as stretches or exercises to improve the function of your feet, and to add to your comfort level.
For information on our other services and podiatry resources go to Our Utah Podiatrist Services here.