If you experience foot pain, chances are you've considered using shoe inserts. Additional cushioning can help relieve pain and even assist in correcting biomechanical issues. However, not all inserts are the same, and some are more suitable for your needs than others.


Whether you're considering an over-the-counter or custom-made insert, here's how to distinguish which option is best for you. 


What Are Custom Orthotics?

Prescription custom orthotics are physician-approved shoe inserts designed to target your specific podiatric needs. Podiatrists commonly use orthotics to treat lower limb problems such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and foot, ankle, and heel pain. 

If you're considering a shoe insert, your podiatrist will design your custom orthotic device after they have conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs to determine the root cause of your lower limb issue. After the assessment, a cast of your foot is created from an imprint. Next, your podiatrist will modify your impression to create a custom insert that addresses your neuromuscular and skeletal system concerns. Last, your podiatrist will follow up to ensure your custom insert is comfortable and working to resolve your lower limb issues. 

Your custom inserts are made to target your issues for long-term relief rather than offering temporary relief. Custom orthotics are an excellent choice if you want to address the root cause of your pain and resolve lower limb complications. 

What Are Over-the-Counter Orthotics?

Over-the-counter (OTC) orthotics are designed to provide general support within your shoes. If you're looking solely for extra shoe support, OTC orthotics are a practical option; however, before purchasing an OTC insert, we strongly recommend being examined by a podiatrist. Since OTC orthotics aren't designed for your foot's anatomy, they don't target your specific needs, nor are they ideal for correcting long-standing foot issues. Additionally, if you suffer from chronic lower limb pain, an OTC shoe insert can actually cause your condition to worsen. By allowing a specialist to assess your situation, you'll have a better chance of reducing existing pain and preventing future issues.




Which Orthotic Is Right for You?


The answer to this question largely depends on your needs. Custom orthotics are great for managing persistent foot issues, while over-the-counter inserts are suitable for relieving temporary discomfort. Whether your pain is minor or intense, we strongly suggest visiting a podiatrist to determine which orthotic is right for you. In addition, our foot and ankle specialists can recognize whether your discomfort results from a severe problem or minor irregularity. Addressing these concerns with an expert is the first step to get back to a pain-free life. 


If you're experiencing chronic lower limb pain, an orthotic device might get you back on your feet! Our expert podiatrists can help you determine whether or not an orthotic insert would help your lower limb health. Call (717) 757-3537 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment today!

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