Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or have been struggling with heel pain for months, chances are you have wondered whether or not you need custom orthotics.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of custom shoe inserts that can help you make your decision!
Will Custom Orthotics Help Plantar Fasciitis?
A quality pair of custom orthotics can make a big difference in improving your plantar fasciitis, by supporting your arch and cushioning a sensitive, deteriorating heel pad. That’s why orthotics are one of the top-recommended conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis!
Unfortunately, just one set of custom orthotics can cost upwards of $200. Is the price worth it? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits, drawbacks, and alternatives to custom orthotics!
Benefits of Custom Orthotics
In the past, custom orthotics had to be created by a podiatrist. However, now it’s quite a bit easier to get a pair of custom orthotics without even leaving your home.
Several companies will send you a footprint imprint kit, along with a short questionnaire online, to determine where you’re feeling pain, the exact width and length of your foot, and any other particular needs you may have (e.g., correcting overpronation).
Within less than a month, you’ll get a pair of custom orthotics.
Drawbacks of Custom Orthotics
While custom orthotics can make a big difference in heel pain, there are a few drawbacks that you should know about before you decide to buy!
One of the biggest drawbacks to custom orthotics is the high prices. For just one pair, your starting price is about $230 on the low end. While this isn’t nearly as high as many medical interventions, it is one of the highest priced conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis.
Because of the high prices of custom orthotics, they aren’t exactly accessible for people with a tight budget. And because of the turnaround time needed to ship you a kit, take your foot imprint, send the imprint back, plus time for creating the orthotics themselves, it’ll be about a month before they arrive at your door — which can feel like a long time if you’re suffering.
Minimal Evidence to Justify Custom Inserts
While there’s a good deal of evidence to show that orthotics can improve plantar fasciitis, there’s not much evidence to show that custom orthotic inserts do a superior job. In fact, a recent landmark meta-analysis of 20 studies shows that custom orthotics and prefabricated orthotic inserts perform pretty much identically.
So, Are Custom Orthotics Worth It?
Custom orthotics can be a lifesaver for some people, especially if you have several different foot issues you’re trying to beat. However, for most people, the benefits of high-quality non-custom orthotics, like Heel Seats are identical to custom orthotics (the main difference being that higher price tag!).
Still can’t decide? Test out a pair of 5-star, non-custom orthotics that come with a money-back guarantee (like Heel That Pain!). If you still wonder what you might be missing with a pair of custom orthotics, test drive a brand that offers a money-back guarantee (several do!). That way, you can make sure you love your custom orthotics before you get stuck with the cost. And at the end of the day, you’ll be able to rest assured that you have the best fit for your foot–and your wallet!
Alternatives to Custom Shoe Inserts
If you aren’t ready to drop more than $200 on a pair of custom orthotics, the good news is that you have some fantastic alternatives. Clinically proven orthotic inserts like Heel Seats cost about as much as lunch out on the town, which means that you can afford to outfit every pair of shoes in your closet for less than one pair of custom orthotics.
If you spend most of your summer in sandals, there’s also alternatives that can be worn with bare feet, such as Heel Seat Wraps, which lift and align the arch like an orthotic insert, but can be worn with open-toed shoes and sandals.
Have you tried custom orthotics? Tell us in the comments below — we love hearing from you!
Common questions about custom orthotics
Yes, it’s possible to order custom orthotics online. The company you order from will send you a mold kit that you can do from home to take a mold of the bottom of your foot, and then they will create the custom orthotics from that mold. However, one of the benefits of getting custom orthotics in-person is that you are working directly with your podiatrist, who can diagnose your specific foot problem. If other factors are causing your heel pain, custom orthotic inserts may not be the best treatment solution.
The best custom orthotic is the orthotic recommended by your podiatrist! Your podiatrist will conduct an assessment to determine exactly what is going on with your feet, and what the cause of the problem is. Remember, custom orthotics are not more effective than over-the-counter orthotics for most people.
Some people with flat feet have great results from custom orthotics, while others don’t notice a difference. Orthotics can provide cushioning and support to correct arch issues, but you can find supportive inserts that are non-prescription for a fraction of the cost.
For some people, custom orthotics are definitely worth the money, while for other people they are ineffective. It’s smart to try affordable, conservative treatments like Heel Seats prior to taking the plunge and investing hundreds of dollars in custom orthotics.
You can get custom orthotics right at home by ordering an online kit, or by talking to your podiatrist. If you do not yet have a podiatrist, ask your general practitioner for an in-network referral, or visit the APMA website for a list of highly qualified doctors who specialize in foot care.