What’s the Difference Between Custom Orthotics and Inserts?


At Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle, we find that there is quite a bit of confusion regarding over-the-counter shoe inserts and podiatrist prescribed custom orthotics. Patients who are experiencing serious and ongoing foot pain from conditions such as plantar fasciitis, diabetic ulcers, hammertoes, tendonitis, bunions, and more may get significant relief from custom orthotics. If your complaint is achy arches or sore heels at the end of a long day on your feet, store-bought footpads may make your feet more comfortable. The first step, however, in determining the right insert for you is to make an appointment at our Spring Hill (352 683-5799) or Hudson (727-868-2128) office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Lawrence J. Kales, can examine your feet and ankles and determine the source of your podiatric discomfort.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Unlike a booth at the drug store, your podiatrist can give you a comprehensive podiatric exam which will consist of a complete medical history, physical examination of your feet, analysis of your gait and shoe wear patterns and diagnostic testing such as x-rays and laboratory tests. If you have a biomechanical or structural problem with your feet that is causing a foot problem, a custom orthotic device can help control abnormal foot movement, and thereby lessen pain and discomfort.

Creating Your Unique Solution

Even if an online or retail store claims to offer a “custom-made” shoe insert, the only way to get something that matches your exact foot contours and is created to match your individual foot is if a foot doctor takes measurements of your foot and makes a physical or digital mold of your feet. This is what is used to make your custom orthotic.

The Support You Need

Although custom orthotics are usually more expensive than the generic kind you can purchase in the store, they are also extremely well-made and will last a long time. Because they are part of a doctor-prescribed medical treatment plan, many insurance plans will help cover the cost of custom orthotics.

If you are experiencing foot pain or discomfort, contact us to find out if a shoe insert or custom orthotic device would best alleviate your symptoms and correct a podiatric problem.