Many people suffer unnecessarily from foot pain when they could be benefitting from the comfort of orthotics. Not everyone thinks they need orthotics, but many of the types of foot pain people experience can be relieved with custom orthotics.
Here are some of the basic questions you may have about orthotics:
What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are essentially custom foot supports. They are designed specifically for the unique needs of your feet, and fit much better than ‘generic’ orthotics that can be bought from a store.
What’s the difference between custom orthotics and regular shoe inserts?
Regular insoles are designed to provide a cushion effect and provide shock absorption. They may feel comfortable initially, but this wears off quickly. They are not designed to correct over-pronation, which is a condition which includes dropped arches and rolling inwards of the feet and ankles. Custom orthotics, however, are designed to correct and optimize foot function. Regular insoles may also have arch support, but they tend to be mostly made of soft materials and therefore, the support they provide is often too weak to be of any benefit.
Do I need Orthotics?
People suffering from arch pain or heel pain typically find that orthotics are a good solution for them. Heel pain (called Plantar Fasciitis) can be extremely uncomfortable and custom orthotics can help reduce this pain by better supporting the arch.
Over 70% of people experience ‘over-pronation’ which is also known as flat feet or fallen arches. This can result in pain in the foot but also in other parts of the body such as the back and hips.
In addition, orthotics can act as a preventative measure. As we age, our arches will begin to fall. The use of orthotics can reduce the effect of fallen arches and the pain associated with it. Regardless of how ‘high’ your arch is now, it will fall as you get older. Orthotics can play an important role in maintaining your arch as nature takes its course.
How long do Orthotics last?
Most custom orthotics will last from 2-5 years depending on wear and tear. They will need to be replaced if your feet are still growing or if you have any foot surgery that may affect the shape of your foot.
Is the cost covered by insurance?
Orthotics are not covered by OHIP (in Ontario). Some extended insurance plans will cover some or all of the cost of orthotics.