Foot Orthotics Vs. Shoe Inserts: What’s the Difference?

Foot Orthotics Vs. Shoe Inserts: What’s the Difference?

By Dr. Ken Lefkowitz

The first thing you need to know is that shoe inserts and orthotics are not the same thing. You may see shoe inserts advertised on television or online that are “custom made” for arch support, but unless they are crafted for you by your podiatrist, they are not the same as custom orthotics. Non-prescription shoe inserts have a limited amount of uses; they can be utilized for arch support, extra cushioning, and as barrier against rubbing shoes. Custom orthotics made by a podiatrist can treat a wider range of issues.

When you visit your podiatrist to purchase orthotics, he or she will conduct a complete evaluation of your feet and ankles to make sure the inserts are crafted perfectly for your unique foot structure. There are two kinds of prescription orthotics that are available: functional orthotics and accommodative orthotics. Functional orthotics are fashioned to control abnormal motion. They can also treat injuries such as shin splints and tendonitis. Accommodative orthotics provide extra cushion and support to treat diabetic foot ulcers, calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other conditions that can cause pain such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and tendonitis.

Although custom orthotics from your podiatrist cost more than shoe inserts from a retail store, they are well worth the price and are often covered by insurance. These orthotics are custom made from 3-dimensional images of each of your feet, so you can be sure that they fit and are serving their purpose. In addition, prescription orthotics are made from high quality materials and last much longer than store-bought inserts.

If you would like to be evaluated for your own pair of custom orthotics or have any other foot and ankle concerns, call Quality Foot Care at 215-230-9707. We hope to see you soon at our Doylestown office!

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