Orthotics: Store-Bought vs. Custom

Orthotics: Store-Bought vs. Custom

Foot pain can stem from a wide range of problems, including plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, warts, bunions, hammer toes, and even ingrown toenails

At Performance Footcare of New York, we treat all of these conditions and more as part of our expert and comprehensive podiatric services. Often the best treatment plan includes custom orthotics inserted into your shoes to promote healing and correct function.

For years, our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Byron Butts, has been helping folks throughout Lake Success and Midtown Manhattan deal with foot pain caused by pounding the pavement on the city streets, whether from chasing cabs, shopping, or getting in some cardio at the park. He knows it’s tempting to grab a pair of over-the-counter insoles at the grocery store, but he urges our patients to consider custom orthotics instead. Here’s why they’re better than the store-bought ones.

What orthotics do

Orthotics are devices that support your body’s ability to move and function. They can be braces, casts, or splints. When you hear the word orthotic, though, it generally refers to the type you insert into your shoe. Foot orthotics have several goals:

One of the most conservative and effective treatments for many types of foot pain is a custom orthotic — but not just any orthotic. Here’s how custom orthotics and store-bought orthotics compare.

Store-bought orthotics

When you purchase orthotics off the shelf, you may see several choices that make you believe you are buying custom supports. The packaging specifies shoe size, activity, and gender, misleading you into thinking the product is designed just for you. But it’s not. 

At best, these types of inserts will provide extra cushioning, but they may also put you in danger of doing more harm than good. 

The primary problem is that this puts you in the position of self-diagnosing your foot pain. If you’re not sure why your feet hurt, and you choose OTC orthotics to “solve” the problem, they may change your gait in a way that actually makes your condition worse. 

Store-bought orthotics may absorb more shock than your shoes alone, but you can’t rely on them to treat serious foot abnormalities or conditions.

Custom orthotics

Foot pain is nothing to take lightly. If you let it go untreated, it can lead to problems throughout your body, including ankle, knee, hip, and back pain. Alignment of all these joints begins in your feet, so it’s critical to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem. 

Dr. Butts performs a thorough evaluation to identify the cause of your pain, and he often prescribes custom orthotics to help resolve it. After taking a digital scan of your feet, he sends the images to a lab where your orthotics are manufactured to cradle the unique contours of your feet and add the right amount of support exactly where you need it. Your custom orthotics can:

Dr. Butts may recommend functional orthotics that improve your movement and alignment, or accommodative orthotics that make room for and cushion bunions and other deformities, but whichever type you need, you can rest assured that your custom orthotics will be specially designed for your weight, your arch, and your needs. 

How to know if you need orthotics

Any time you experience foot pain, we recommend coming to see Dr. Butts. Since symptoms can be deceiving, it’s best to get a professional opinion. If Dr. Butts determines that you can benefit from orthotics, he discusses your options with you and helps you make an informed decision. 

If your condition calls for different or additional treatments, Dr. Butts offers evidence-based procedures using the most advanced technology, including:

Personalized service like this is just one of the advantages of choosing Performance Footcare of New York. To schedule an appointment and find out what’s causing your foot pain, call us at either location today, or book your visit online

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