Custom Orthotics vs Off the Shelf – It’s Not Just About the Cost

by superadmin
April 26, 2024
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If you’re considering orthotics you’re probably weighing up your options to decide whether to go for custom orthotics vs off the shelf.

Orthotics are medical devices or insoles that are used to treat lower limb problems and foot pain. The main purpose of orthotics is to properly align your feet and ankles when you are standing, walking, or running. They are inserted into your footwear and can be purchased over the counter of your local pharmacy or prescribed by a podiatrist and custom-made just for you.

In this article, we’re going to be running through the pros and cons of custom made and generic options to help you choose the right one for you.

So, to kick off the great debate about custom orthotics vs off the shelf, let’s start with the latter.

Off the shelf orthotics

This type of orthotic is far cheaper than custom orthotics. This is because they’re a generic solution for anyone that can be trimmed down with a pair of scissors and slotted into your shoes. If it’s a good fit for you, this orthotic may work well.

The thing is …. because this type of orthotic is designed to fit anybody it’s unlikely to provide the exact shape or support that you need. So while it may cushion your foot and provide comfort, it won’t treat your foot problem and provide the benefits of a custom-orthotic prescribed by your podiatrist.

Custom orthotics vs off the shelf – Lifespan

Off the shelf orthotics are also made from materials that don’t seem to be as durable as a custom orthotic.

  • Generic off the shelf orthotics may last for up to 12 months depending on how often they’re worn and what activity you’re doing. If they wear out before then, usually there isn’t a guarantee
  • Custom orthotics, on the other hand, can last up to 5 years or more and will usually come with a lifetime guarantee against cracking or fitting.

Custom orthotics

Custom or prescription orthotics are tailor-made to your needs. They involve several procedures including an examination to diagnose the problem and a 3D foot scan to design orthotics that fit your feet correctly.

The prescription for orthotics includes measuring the angle and degree of correction that needs to be put into the orthotics. Your podiatrist will also decide on the forefoot and heel position, the orthotic width and length, and the height of the arch. Additions and modifications can also be put into the orthotics depending on your foot issues..

Our bespoke orthotics are precisely designed to fit your footprint. Not just to support your arch but to guide your foot through each part of its step.

So, how do you decide between custom orthotics vs off the shelf?

At Cartwright Podiatry, we generally break this down into 3 questions when discussing orthotic treatment with a patient

  1. How bad is your pain and how is it impacting your every-day living?
  2. How much are you willing to spend on orthotics?
  3. How often will you wear them?

One of the most important factors is pain. If you’re in constant pain then we would usually recommend custom orthotics. These are likely to work best for you and will last longer than off the shelf ones.

Custom orthotics are designed to reduce fatigue and increase muscle efficiency which helps reduce aches and pains.

A patient also needs to commit to wearing orthotics every day. The more they wear them, the better they will work.

If you’re unsure, you may want to try wearing off the shelf orthotics to get used to wearing them. You can always change to custom orthotics at a later date.

Hopefully, this article has helped your dilemma over custom orthotics vs off the shelf. If you’re suffering from foot pain, then our podiatrists can help. Why not book an appointment online today or call Cartwright Podiatry on (02) 8405 6850.

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