If you begin having foot pain, you could try to fix it in a few different ways. You could try to get new shoes, or you could get some orthotic inserts for your current shoes. You could go to the store and buy inserts, or if you feel that you need something more intensive, you could get custom orthotics. But how do you get them made? And how much will you pay for them?
Custom orthotics can range in price anywhere from $150 to $1500, depending on who you see to get them done. But it is important to identify whether you really need orthotics in the first place and how they would truly help your feet. A physical therapist can watch you walk and help you decide whether you need orthotics - our physical therapists at EW Motion Therapy do it for many of our clients who need extra support. Even if you do not pursue physical therapy with us, we still want to discuss orthotics and how they can benefit different types of feet.
This article discusses who really needs orthotics, why custom orthotics are usually better, the benefits of custom orthotics for different foot types, and some professionals you can see to get them fitted. With this information, you can make the best decision to hopefully help you move better.
Do I need orthotics at all?
Let’s first discuss who actually could benefit from custom orthotics. It is important to recognize that anything you put under your feet has the power to influence the rest of your body. For example, any shoe or orthotic that raises your heel will naturally tip your pelvis forward. What many people don’t realize is that your head follows the movement of your pelvis. The end result is strain on your neck and head that might create neck pain or headaches. The entire body system is connected, and that is why many women have back pain after wearing high heels for an extended time.
Because your feet stabilize the rest of your body, you need to think carefully about how an orthotic would influence your gait and posture. There are some schools of thought that disapprove of every kind of orthotic, but most physical therapists agree that they can be beneficial for certain types of feet.
Why should I get custom orthotics?
Custom orthotics are understandably better than off-the-shelf orthotics in many situations because they are molded to your specific feet. Off-the-shelf inserts can come close to providing the support you may need, but it really depends on your foot. If your ankle and foot are hypermobile (naturally more flexible), then a custom orthotic would provide the best control to help with alignment and posture. However, if you just need a little more support or stability, then an off-the-shelf insert might serve your purpose just fine. It is always a good idea to get professional advice if you are considering investing in custom orthotics.
Benefits of custom orthotics
Most people fall into different categories of foot mobility that range from rigid joints (high arch) to loose joints (completely flat) or somewhere in between. Depending on your type of foot, you may need different types of orthotics for different levels of control.
If you have a foot with a high arch, that usually means your foot and ankle joint mobility is very minimal, and you probably do not need orthotics. Most custom orthotics increase control, and rigid feet do not need more control, but instead, it may be best to wear neutral shoes to accommodate the rigid joints.
If you have completely flat feet, your foot and ankle joints are probably very flexible. While this can be great for your sport of choice, it might not be doing you any favors in your everyday movement patterns. A custom orthotic would be a great solution to help you have more control over your excessive joint motion outside of your sport for everyday life.
Somewhere in between
If your feet fall somewhere in the middle of completely flat and high arches, the solution you choose just depends on what you want to spend and your specific goals. A store-bought orthotic would probably provide the stability that you need without breaking your bank.
Who should I see to get orthotics?
Now you know more about orthotics and whether custom ones would be right for your feet. If you would like professional advice, you could see a podiatrist, who could evaluate your feet and prescribe custom orthotics. They would then send you to a pedorthist, a professional who is licensed and trained to make orthotics, to get fitted. If you decide against orthotics, but still want a different level of support for your feet, you could investigate getting some new shoes.
Having foot pain trying to walk around is not fun for anyone, and if you have the right type of foot, custom orthotics can be a great solution to help promote control of your excessive movement. A physical therapist can be a great professional to see if you want advice on whether you need orthotics. At EW Motion Therapy, our therapists can watch you move and give you recommendations on which orthotics would be best for your feet. If you are interested in physical therapy with us, fill out our Request an Appointment form, and someone from our staff will contact you within 48 hours with your next steps.