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Both custom and prefabricated orthotics aim to provide foot support and alleviate discomfort, but they differ significantly in their design, purpose, cost, and adaptability. Custom orthotics are tailor-made to fit an individual's unique foot contour and biomechanics. A podiatrist typically takes a mold or digital scan of the patient's foot and designs the orthotic based on specific needs. As a result, they provide targeted support, correct biomechanical imbalances, and address specific medical conditions. Prefabricated orthotics are mass-produced and come in standard sizes and shapes. They offer generalized support and cushioning but lack the personalized fit of custom orthotics. They may be useful for minor foot discomfort or as a temporary solution. They are less expensive than custom-made versions but may not provide the exact support or correction needed for more complex foot issues. In deciding between the two, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist to discuss your particular foot issues.
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.
Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.
If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high-quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.
If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.
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