Are custom orthotics really worth it?
What are they and how do they differ from orthotics you can buy in the chemist?
Read more to discover what custom orthotics are and how they’re the best investment for your foot health.
What is A custom orthotic?
Custom orthotics are a prescription orthotic made from a 3D impression of your feet. They’re made just for you to help improve, support or correct your foot posture or treat any foot pathology you may be experiencing.
Many injuries and conditions we see at our foot clinics occur as a consequence of abnormal foot and lower limb mechanics. Such abnormalities can have a significant impact on the feet, legs, pelvis and spine.
Are custom orthotics necessary?
Custom orthotics are specifically designed to suit your particular condition, foot type, weight and desired activity. Generally, custom orthotics offer greater control than other types of orthotics, in addition to being more durable.
Biomechanical correction is achieved by using high density foams and plastics which initially may appear too rigid but, in time, usually become quite comfortable.
Research has shown that, in many cases, custom orthotics can relieve pain and prevent further disability. That said, not everyone is a candidate for orthotic therapy. We also specialise in footwear prescription; frequently, some simple advice is all that is needed.
You can rest assured we will only recommend custom orthotics when necessary.
Orthotics are used to treat numerous foot conditions. Depending on which condition you have, the design and the features of the device will help provide you with the best treatment outcome.
Orthotics are never a standalone treatment, and your Podiatrist will recommend footwear changes, exercises and in some cases medication as well.
Here are some examples of foot conditions that can be treated with orthotics:
Custom orthotics are specially-made devices designed to support and comfort your feet.
Schedule an appointment today with a Podiatrist to be assessed and see if orthotic therapy is a solution for you.
How are custom orthotics made?
Making custom orthotics is a multi-step process that first begins with a thorough assessment by a podiatrist. During this assessment, your podiatrist will ask how and when your symptoms started. After that, your podiatrist will do a foot examniation. This assessment of your feet usually includes a visual gait assessment.
If you require any additional imaging for your feet to assess an underlying pathology (such as X-ray or ultrasound), your podiatrist will refer you.
Factoring in your symptoms, pathology, activity and footwear, your podiatrist will design an orthotic for your individual needs. Your prescription is then sent to a state-of-the-art orthotic laboratory where it’s hand made by highly skilled technicians.
Step 2: 3D Scanning
Step 3: Prescription
Step 4: Manufacture
Step 5: Fitting
Types of custom orthotics
Custom orthotics can differ not only in the materials used but also in their shape. Depending on your foot condition, activity and what footwear you would like to put them in, the prescription will change. Options include:
How do orthotics work?
Our patients always ask us this question and feel that as Podiatrists, we should be able to answer it as best as possible. The goal of orthotic therapy is to reduce internal and external forces which are acting on specific parts of foot, to treat injury and reduce foot pain.
Orthotics alter pressure coming from the ground to the foot (ground reaction force) when you stand, walk or run. By altering these forces, we can achieve better foot function and reduce any excessive forces that lead to foot injury.
Depending on pathology and where your foot pain is located, different orthotic design with specific features can change location, magnitude and timing of force acting within the foot. These excessive forces inside the foot and ankle are the cause of nearly all mechanically related injuries that we treat on a daily basis.
By wearing orthotics, we can help send back sensory feedback to your brain to prompt it to change its movement during gait. With these signals, your brain can send corrective movements to the foot and improve function, avoid pain and prevent injury.
Now that the Physics lesson is finished, read on to see how orthotics can help you with your foot pain.
How much do custom made orthotics cost?
Are custom orthotics covered by insurance?
Depending on your policy, if you are covered for podiatry and orthotic services, you may be eligible for a rebate on your orthotics. Before you consider having custom orthotics made, you’ll want to check to see how much your insurance will cover and what your out-of-pocket expenses are.
Find below detailed item codes*:
- Biomechanical assessment $140
Visual gait analysis, footwear assessment, assessment for orthotic therapy (item codes: 004, 118)
- 3D scan of both feet $60
Scans of feet to make custom orthotics (item codes: 301, 301)
- 1 pair of custom orthotics $520
1 pair of custom orthotics and a short fitting appointment (item codes: 221, 221, 010)
- 2 pairs of custom orthotics $900
2 pairs of custom orthotics and a short fitting appointment (item codes: 221, 221, 221, 221, 010)
- Follow up appointment $79
Orthotic review (item code: 012)
* Please be aware item codes vary across different health funds.
You can also take advantage of your private health insurance and our second pair discounts and get additional pairs each year for different shoes or activities when it resets annually.
A common story
At The Foot Hub, we know that custom orthotics aren’t without their controversy. This something we try to avoid in our Sydney foot clinics with the following practices:
Our promise to you
At The Foot Hub we pride ourselves in delivering accurate and meticulous custom made orthotics to our patients. We promise the following to our patients:
Discounts on additional pair
Australian owned company
Follow up appointments
Six weeks following an orthotic fitting, your podiatrist will make a follow up appointment to see how your orthotics going.
Custom orthotics should be gradually worn in overtime starting off with an hour a day increasing until you are able to wear them all day with no discomfort. These appointments are a crucial step, and we advise our patients to make sure to attend them.
At The Foot Hub, we assure all our patients that should anything cause significant pain to promptly call the clinic.
If any modifications are required to the orthotic at this appointment, these will be free of charge. Getting your orthotics right is important to us.
Footwear for orthotics
Shoes are essential when it comes to orthotic function. Wearing proper fitting orthotic-friendly shoes you can help improve function of the your orthotics and avoid any potential fitting issues.
Use shoes with:
Orthotic-friendly shoe design has come a long way in the last few years. You don’t have to worry about wearing clunky, ugly shoes like in the past.
Don't know what shoes to put your orthotics in?
*Shoes from Bared Footwear
A Case Study
In 2001, a seven-year-old girl was brought by her parents into a podiatry clinic for severe flatfoot deformity. The patient was having difficulty walking long distances or standing on her feet for prolonged periods of time. She was assessed by a podiatrist and recommended custom orthotics. She was treated with medial heel skive orthoses.
The patient became asymptomatic within a month of receiving treatment with significant minimised pain in her feet. In 2018, age 24, she returned to the clinic she attended in 2001 for a new pair of custom orthotics. She was still wearing the old orthotics she wore in 2001. She still had flat feet but was asymptomatic as long as she wore her custom orthotics.
In conclusion, custom orthotics are an effective treatment for symptomatic flat feet. Through the use of durable materials, they last a long time.
-Copyright Dr. Kevin Kirby, DPM
frequently asked questions
Custom orthotics are handmade and take some time to make due to different stages to the manufacture. Also, the materials used to make them are specialised and therefore costly. At The Foot Hub, we try to make all our services affordable without compromising on quality.
Make sure to take advantage of your private health insurance and our offers like Afterpay.
It takes two weeks to get your orthotics to you. Should there be delays, your podiatrist will advise you at time of your appointment.
The Foot Hub uses a state-of-the-art orthotic laboratory in Queensland. All orthotics are handmade with high-quality control and finishes to make sure they’re perfect for the patients.
Yes, they do wear out over time due to use and activity. If the top cover of the orthotic is worn this can be easily replaced, however if the shell of the orthotic is cracked or warped, a replacement orthotic would be indicated. Depending on how often you wear them, and the materials used in custom orthotics can last for more than three years.
No. Make sure to take advantage of your private health insurance and other offers like Afterpay.
Orthotics can last for a long considerable amount of time. Depending on how often you wear them, and type of activity you should expect your orthotics to last over three years. Sometimes the top cover can wear out, this may need to be replaced before that. Always talk to your Podiatrist about what activity you would need your orthotics for so that suitable and durable materials can be chosen.
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