Custom-Made Orthotics vs Over-the-Counter

Custom-Made Foot Orthotics

A custom-made foot orthotic is made specifically for the patient following an assessment of their feet and legs by a footcare expert such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist.

A custom-made foot orthotic is made from a three-dimensional model of the patient’s foot and is fabricated from raw materials. It is designed to meet the patient’s unique and specific needs. A custom-made foot orthotic can be

Accommodative

Where the primary goal is to deflect pressure away from ulcers, calluses and other painful pressure points

Functional

A device primarily designed to control foot and lower leg biomechanical function

PROS

  • Custom-made foot orthotics provide accurate biomechanical assistance.

  • There is an ongoing ability to modify the device to create perfect fit and function.

  • A vast variety of materials can be used to provide specific support and cushioning for increased function and comfort.

  • Custom-made foot orthotics have a longer lifespan that may off-set the greater initial cost.

CONS

  • Although many insurance programs cover orthotics, a custom-made foot orthotic costs significantly more than an over-the-counter device.

Over-the-Counter Devices

Unlike custom-made foot orthotics, basic over-the-counter devices are mass produced and sold through pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail stores. More supportive types of over-the-counter devices can be found at pedorthic clinics.

PROS

  • Over-the-counter devices have the added benefits of convenience and affordability.

  • Many over-the-counter devices bring satisfactory results in treating common foot conditions resulting from minor biomechanical abnormalities. For example, they can be used as a temporary device for a child who is rapidly growing or as a “first step” to provide insight into how a patient will respond to and tolerate an orthotic.

CONS

  • They do not fit all foot types.

  • They only support moderate biomechanical abnormalities. More significant issues will likely require a custom-made device.

  • They typically have a shorter life span than a custom-made foot orthotic.

To make an appointment with a Pedorthist to receive an examination and get fitted for a custom-made foot orthotic, click here to find a Pedorthist near you.