Prefabricated shoe inserts (also known as arch supports or insoles) are everywhere lately: retail stores, pharmacies, the mall…TV ads and websites advertise “custom-made” insoles and foot supports, which are often pre-packaged and sold according to shoe size. Unless the device has been prescribed by a doctor and crafted for your specific foot, it’s a prefabricated shoe insert, not a custom orthotic device—despite what the television and newspaper ads might say. Prefabricated shoe inserts aren’t covered by insurance, but they’ll cost you $50 or less.
What are custom foot orthotics? Much like eyeglasses or dentures, custom foot orthotics are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. They give you optimal support, provide shock absorption, and help eliminate pain.
How are custom foot orthotics made? At Albany Podiatry, we create a digital impression of the foot using a true, three-dimensional podiatric scanner. Your foot is held in “neutral position” while a laser measures the contours of the foot in ultra-precise, one millimeter increments. To display your natural arch, the scan must be done without bearing weight on the foot. The resulting image displays the complete contours of your foot. After discussing your conditions and lifestyle, one of our podiatrists designs an individual prescription, specifically for you. The data is then sent to a lab where a 3-D model of your foot is created. The materials are heat molded and vacuum pressed to the model of your foot. You then return a few weeks later to be evaluated by your podiatrist and fitted for your orthotics. This is custom. If you received an insert from a store that didn’t take the time to build a model of your foot, thus requiring you to return for fitting at a later date, then you did not receive a custom orthotic. You received a prefabricated arch support.
Who would benefit from custom foot orthotics? Custom foot orthotics are used to treat many foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, ankle pain, arthritis, bunions, swelling, limb length discrepancy, and heel pain. This non-invasive treatment can frequently alleviate knee, hip, and back pain. Custom foot orthotics are also frequently used to help prevent diabetic patients from developing calluses or sores.
Unlike prefabricated shoe inserts, custom foot orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist treat medical conditions– meaning that some insurance companies cover the cost, and patients can apply Health Savings Account funds.
Before making a purchase, see your podiatrist for a thorough evaluation. We’ll help determine which type of support is best to keep you active, moving, and on your feet!
Albany Podiatry is located at 6 Executive Park Drive, just behind Stuyvesant Plaza. Drs. Friedman, Mason and Hardy specialize in comprehensive podiatric care, including diabetic foot care, foot surgery, sports medicine and custom orthotics. For more information visit www.albanypodiatry.com or call Albany Podiatry at 482-4321.
Spotlight News, The Spot 518 and Capital District Family Now are divisions of Community Media Group, LLC. Our local offices are located at 341 Delaware Ave, Delmar, NY 12054. You can contact us at 518.439.4949.