Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Orthotics

Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Orthotics

If you have a serious condition or chronic pain, an off-the-shelf orthotic device may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor about custom-made orthotics and take advantage of their long-term benefits.

A stiff back, uncooperative knee, tired leg, or sore foot are all issues that the right orthotic treatment could potentially relieve. Technology has ensured orthotics are more readily available than ever before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all orthotics are created equal. In fact, using the “wrong” orthotics can actually exacerbate pain or discomfort over time, even if they seem to relieve it in the short term. Unlike most generic shoe inserts, knee braces, or elbow splints you can find online or in retail stores, custom-made orthotics are prescribed to treat a specific condition and fit your body. With all the orthotic options you have, how do you make sure you’re making the right choice?

Do You Know Why You Have Pain?

Your body has an elegant and well-designed system of support, but its interconnectivity often means that pain in one area is often caused by misalignment in another. This makes it very difficult to self-diagnose the source of your pain. While a foot issue could be caused by a simple strain or recent injury, it could also be due to a gait imbalance that could be easily corrected with orthotic inserts or specially designed shoes.

If you tend to stay busy, it’s tempting to step on a machine at a big box store and get a “diagnosis” without needing to see a professional orthotics specialist. However, accurately pinpointing the source of your foot pain is vital to treating it correctly or even relieving it permanently.

Will Your Orthotics Fit Properly?

Realistically, an orthotic manufacturer can only create so many product variations while remaining profitable. That means consumers often either have to “make do” with a less-than-ideal fit for their shoe size or foot condition or waste money trying different types of orthotic knee braces before giving in and seeing a doctor.

Conversely, using podiatry concerns as an example, a custom foot orthotics provider will precisely measure your foot to ensure a natural, comfortable fit designed to relieve pain from your diagnosed foot condition. Not only will this provide you with a more targeted and medically accurate approach to pain relief, you will also receive an orthotic made of supportive, quality materials that can withstand the rigors of daily use. Even athletes can get custom foot orthotics to help recover from foot injuries or prevent a new injury.

Will Your Orthotics Support Your Health?

The more access to your health history that medical professionals have, the more accurate their recommended course of treatment will be. Your doctor can prescribe an orthotic device and share your medical files with a licensed clinician certified in making custom orthotics, making it much easier to treat you. Additionally, insurance agencies often require proof of ongoing treatment and evaluation in order to cover the costs of custom foot orthotics for your condition.

Buying a set of off-the-shelf orthotic shoe inserts or back braces fails to provide you with either of these benefits, increasing the likelihood that your condition may worsen and require additional orthotic diagnosis and treatment later on.

Seeing a doctor to address your health concerns is a better choice than self-diagnosis and over-the-counter remedies. Why risk temporary or ineffective fixes when every step you take puts you at risk of pain? If you want to learn more about your custom orthotic options in Arkansas, contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics at 501-683-8889.

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