Custom Orthotics vs. OTC Inserts

We are often asked why a patient would get custom orthotics from us rather then just buy over the counter (OTC) inserts.  Here are the top 5 reasons. 
1.  There are times that you may feel that you could use something in your shoe to make your feet or legs feel better.  Do you really know why you are experiencing the problem?  You could just stop by the drugstore and pick up an over the counter (OTC) insert and see if it helps.  If it gives you some short term relief, maybe that is all you need.  BUT it could be that what you think is the problem is not the real problem.  It could be that your heel hurts but it is not your heel that is the problem but you have developed plantar fasciitis.  The OTC insert will not help you with this problem.  You would be better served by going to your local podiatrist and having your foot checked.  By doing this, you will really know that the orthotic that may be prescribed and made for you will help with your particular problem. 
 2.   Custom orthotics are made for your feet.   The orthotic is made from the cast of your foot which means that it will fit your foot.  With the OTC inserts that you purchase in the store, if your foot or feet are not standard (and whose are?) you need to hope that your feet can adjust to what is considered a standard foot.
3.  Custom orthotics will last for 3 -5 years.  Store purchased orthotics will last 3-6 months. 
4.  Custom orthotics can be made for various kinds of shoes.  You can have them for your athletic shoes and your wing tips! One casting can give you orthotics for your various shoes. OTC inserts come in one shape and while you can try and trim them for your various shoes, it is not always effective. 
5. There is a cost difference between inserts and orthotics.  Orthotics are, on the face of it, much more expensive.  But looking a bit deeper, you may find that the cost may even out over time.  If you are replacing $40 inserts every 3 months that adds up to be $160 per year.  Given the 3 – 5 year life span of orthotics that means that you could be paying $800 for inserts over 5 years while the custom orthotics could have cost you $400.  Also, some insurance companies will pay some or all of the cost for orthotics but not OTC inserts. 
Trivia Question of the week– How many movies have the word “foot” or “feet” in the title?
Find the answer on our Facebook page – Evanston Podiatric Surgeons – on Friday, October 26th.  While you’re there, please take a moment to “like” us.
Follow us on twitter – @EvPodiatric and the answer will be tweeted on Friday morning.

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