Why Custom Orthotics Are Better Than Store-Bought

September 1, 2022

Custom orthotics can be a great solution for lots of foot problems, including chronic foot pain. But can store-bought inserts be just as effective? No. In fact, they could make your problem worse. Here’s why.

With more than two dozen bones, nearly three dozen joints, and over 100 muscles, your feet are among the most complex skeletal structures in your body. All those components mean there are lots of opportunities for injury — which is one of the main reasons why nearly 90% of Americans experience foot pain at some point in their lives.  

Fortunately, many foot pain cases can be treated conservatively by improving foot support. How can you do that? With custom orthotics made specifically for your foot problem and your foot shape. 

At Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates in Richmond, Virginia, Weston Angermeier, DPM, and Rachel Hensley, DPM, work closely with you to create custom orthotics aimed at helping you relieve foot pain and other foot-related problems. Here are four reasons why custom orthotics are definitely a better choice for your feet. 

1. Better fit

Off-the-shelf orthotics are made using basic principles of foot anatomy and foot issues — for instance, a basic understanding of how and where corns develop. That’s out of necessity: Store-bought inserts are made for mass audiences, because they depend on high sales to generate profits and stay in business. That might make good business sense, but your feet definitely pay a price — sometimes a high one — for that “cookie-cutter” approach.  

Custom orthotics are made one patient at a time, using state-of-the-art 3D digital scanning for the most detailed, precise measurements of every part of your foot. As a result, custom orthotics are exceptionally comfortable. They can be made to fit nearly all types of shoes, too, including dress shoes, athletic shoes, and high heels. 

2. Better results

Not surprisingly, that custom fit also means you can enjoy much better results. Not only are your orthotics made to fit your foot shape, but they’re also created specifically for your foot problems. In fact, that custom-made feature means prescription orthotics can be used to treat a wide array of foot problems — and they can be made to treat multiple problems, too. 

On the flip side, the one-size-fits-all approach of store-bought orthotics means your feet won’t get the individual attention they need to really feel better. And of course, because they’re designed based on those general principles of foot health, drugstore inserts typically only treat one general problem — and they do it with a total lack of precision. 

3. Better prevention

Most foot problems, like calluses, corns, or chronic pain, are the product of an underlying biomechanical issue such as the way your foot is shaped, how your foot “lands” when you step, or how your foot structure distributes your body weight. Custom orthotics are designed to address those problems to help your feet feel better now and avoid future problems. 

One of the biggest concerns with store-bought orthotics is that, because they’re not designed to treat your specific foot problem, you could very well wind up with worsening symptoms or additional symptoms caused by an ill-fitting insert. So while the initial “cushion factor” might feel good, as time goes on, basic inserts could cause increasing pain requiring more invasive types of treatment. 

4. Better value

One of the biggest differences between custom orthotics and off-the-shelf inserts is their price. Yes, store-bought inserts do cost less. But let’s face it: Any price is too much to pay when the inserts don’t work — and when in some cases, they might actually cause worsening problems for your feet. 

Custom orthotics are often covered by insurance. But even when they involve out-of-pocket costs, they’re still a much better value. First, custom orthotics actually work, so you “cash in” on long-term benefits for your feet and your health. Plus, they’re crafted of comfortable, durable materials designed to last for years. With a store-bought insert, you’re lucky to get a couple of months of daily use before the insert literally falls flat. 

Relieve your foot pain today

Custom orthotics are used to treat a wide range of foot problems, including: 

Most importantly, they’re made for you and no one else, so you can finally find the relief you’ve been looking for. 

To learn more about custom orthotics and how they can improve your foot health, call 804-358-9031 today, or use our easy online booking feature to schedule an appointment with Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates any time.