Myths about custom foot orthoticsThere are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding orthotics, shoes, and foot care. Some of these myths simply have eroded due to improvements and research over time, and others were never based in fact from the start. Seeing dozens of patients every week, our Pedorthists frequently debunk these myths for the benefit of our patients. Below is what we dive into the most common misconceptions we see.
No.1 — As long as you’re wearing an orthotic, you don’t have to wear good shoes.
Without the structure of a good shoe supporting it, an orthotic can’t always perform at its best. Similar to the foundation of a house, your orthotics need a solid base to sit upon in order to perform the best of your feet. Furthermore, a well-structured shoe typically has an adequate removable footbed, which provides ample space for both your foot and your orthotic in the shoe. Many shoes are orthotic friendly, and your orthotics can be adapted and adjusted to fit into several different pairs of shoes so you’re not “stuck” wearing only one pair.
No.2 — All Orthotics are hard, and will hurt my feet while they “break in”
Orthotics are intended to help your feet, not hurt them! While some orthotics are firm and corrective, that style is certainly not the only one available. We like to thi their lifespan. Depending on your needs, a wide variety of materials can be used to create a device that is just right fornk of orthotics being on a spectrum of soft to firm. Depending on what you need, your orthotics will be as soft or as firm as you need to recover from your injury. Furthermore, orthotics should be adjustable for both fit and comfort throughout you.
Orthotics should never increase your pain, cause blisters or create new problems during the break-in period. Mild discomfort may occur as you get used to the new devices, but this discomfort should be no more than mild—similar to a bit of discomfort you might experience with a brand new pair of shoes. If you are experiencing discomfort, visit your Pedorthist for an adjustment! Your Canadian Certified Pedorthist can adjust your orthotic in dozens of ways to increase comfort without compromising function.
No.3 — Off-the-shelf devices work the same as custom
Off-the-shelf (OTS) devices and insoles often found at the drugstore or grocery store range small gel heel cups to full length memory foam insoles with various padding, support, and materials. The biggest difference is that none of these insoles consider your individual needs, nor are they made to properly for your foot.
No.4 — Orthotics make your feet dependent on them, or weaken foot muscles
We commonly use the analogy of eyeglasses when discussing this with patients. Orthotics work like eyeglasses; they only work while you are wearing them, and they do not weaken the muscles in your feet and legs. Orthotics are not a crutch or a brace, and your feet do not become dependent on them. Custom foot orthotics provide essential support in key areas that improve function and/or limit excess motion causing stress on the tissues of the foot.
Podiatrist Doug Ritchie, DPM discusses this further HERE.
OTS devices are always sold at a lower price than custom, but you get what you pay for. OTS devices are made to fit an average foot, so if your foot is not similar to their device, it may not be of much help.
Custom made orthotics are made 100% custom to your foot. Your Pedorthist will take a 3D mould of your foot and the materials used to manufacture your orthotics are formed directly to that mould, making a custom insole. Your Pedorthist will choose a combination of materials and support features that fit your exact needs, and they can be adjusted throughout their life if your needs change over time.