In this day and age, shoe inserts to help with foot pain seem to be a dime a dozen. My message is BUYER BEWARE!
Your typical over the counter insert that you will find in a drug store, shoe store or supermarket is usually very cushiony and flimsy. Many have gel components added to them. Although you may think this would comfort an aching foot, it usually only takes up room in your shoe. Most common foot problems will require a more supportive insert to support the arch and foot, rather than just cushion it.
There are so many good marketing campaigns with “high tech looking machines” in drug stores that people stand on and are told what insert would be best for their foot. People take these machine readings as gospel truth. Many people will spend $30-70 on a store insert without blinking an eye. However, in my practice, I have seen many people who have not been helped by these inserts.
Your best bet if you are experiencing foot pain is to have a consultation with your podiatrist. We can determine if your foot condition can be helped by an in shoe insert. Some people will respond to a good supportive over the counter insert, but many painful feet, require the help of a custom made foot insert (orthotic), to best manage pain long term. Custom inserts can be made to address specific foot types and contour. They can be made using a wide variety of materials ranging from supportive soft material to very firm material. Our office, offers both supportive over the counter inserts and custom orthotics to treat your foot problems.
Pros of over the counter inserts:
– You can obtain these immediately
– Less expensive in the short term
Cons of over the counter inserts:
– Not custom to your foot. These go by shoe sizes. Because of this, over the counter inserts can be uncomfortable or not help your specific foot pain. Same insert for high arch or low arch foot.
– These are less durable and usually need to be replaced in 4 to 12 months
Pros of custom inserts:
– Custom to your foot and will be designed to address your specific foot pain or problem
– More durable
– Handmade from a mold of your foot
– Happier feet!
Cons of custom inserts:
– Larger up front expense if your insurance does not cover them. However, in the long run, you should not have to replace them as often as OTC options
– Usually takes 2 weeks to fabricate devices