As discussed in the prior article, everyone’s feet are completely unique. In fact, even one’s own two feet are not the same. Most shoe gear does not provide the amount of arch support and hindfoot control that is necessary to maintain foot structure in it’s ideal condition. Also per the previous article, the foot is made to be both supple and rigid during normal activity. Since most feet are not perfect, either too much flexibility or rigidity can lead to problems such as arthritis or disorders of tendons and ligaments.
Prefabricated over the counter arch support companies often use deceptive advertising such as ‘custom fit’ when, in reality, only a different size of arch support or flexibility is being selected. Much like shoes come in different sizes, so do arch supports. The prefabricated arch supports may have varying degrees of arch height contributing to their differing styles and hence the phrase ‘custom fit’. This is not to be confused with custom made prescriptions orthotics which are unique to your own two non-identical feet. Just as people can have different lens prescriptions of each eye for their contacts or glasses, a different prescription is required for each foot to obtain ideal results. Prefabricated arch supports are to non-prescriptive reading glasses as custom prescription orthotics are to prescriptive glasses.
Over the counter prefabricated arch supports provide only support and or cushioning. These are not intended to correct biomechanical (the way the foot functions) imbalances, nor are they able to accommodate abnormalities to your feet such as various prominences that may be present. Over the counter arch supports can be simply thought of as a different shoe insole which may cushion your foot and add support to your arch – but possibly not in a good way. However, they cannot correct biomechanical foot issues or treat long standing foot issues.
Custom prescription orthotics are specifically created devices designed to control, support and comfort your feet. They are unique to you and no one else’s feet. They perfectly match the contours of your feet and are designed for the way you move around in order to ensure proper biomechanics. You can think of custom prescription orthotics in the same way as braces. Just as children often get braces to straighten out their teeth, custom prescription orthotics are used to treat a multitude of foot conditions including but not limited to: plantar fasciitis (heel pain/heel spur syndrome), tendinitis, diabetic foot ulcers, foot, ankle, knee, hip and back pain etc. to name a few. There are clinical research studies that back the use of these custom prescription orthotics to decrease foot pain and improve overall function. It is important to remember that foot pain is not normal and treatment should be sought immediately to prevent the risk of long term/chronic or irreversible damage.
If you have any foot and/or ankle questions or concerns, Drs. Peterson and Keeler are always here for you and can likely get you scheduled for the same or very next day. We have digital xray in the office and can get your feet casted for custom prescription orthotics and have them to you within a matter of only a couple weeks. At Family Foot Clinic we have a great relationship with our orthotic labs and will work closely with them to ensure the highest quality results and satisfaction