November 28, 2023

The World's Local Health

 A Less Expensive Way to Buy Orthotics

4 min read
 A Less Expensive Way to Buy Orthotics

Many people in Tucson will go to a store that claims to be an orthotics store, hoping to save money on devices that will remedy their foot pain or correct their deformity. These devices are expensive, and that’s just about the extent of what they do. They take your money from you, and leave you with unresolved sources of discomfort.

If you think you’re saving money purchasing these shoe inserts billed as orthotics from a big box store, think again. It ultimately winds up becoming more expensive, and potentially detrimental to your health.

What is an Orthotic Device?

A true orthotic device is a prescription custom made foot support made to be placed inside of your shoe. Your left foot and your right foot are likely to be slightly different from each other. Each device is created to conform to and correct the specific and unique contours of your feet, providing support where you need it first.

An orthotic device is not something readymade that comes in a package from a store. These devices are shoe inserts. Gel or foam shoe inserts are designed to provide additional comfort to a fashionable pair of shoes, or some extra cushion for people who work standing on their feet. These flat devices aren’t harmful, but they aren’t helpful in correcting structural issues or injuries of the foot.

Other devices that claim to improve food alignment or strengthen or support the arches of the feet are not the same as orthotics. They’re built assuming that everyone’s arches are in the same place and at the same depth, requiring the exact same amount of support. This could not be further from the truth. The arch of your right foot might be significantly different from the arch of your left foot, rendering these devices essentially useless.

How Are Orthotic Devices Made?

True orthotics are made by a professional orthotist. Your orthotist takes a prescription from your doctor and begins to assess your feet. High tech digital scanning techniques may be used, and traditional measurements may be taken. This information is input into special software that creates a virtual representation of each of your feet.

These maps are sent to a lab that manufactures orthotic devices to the exact specifications of each foot, designed to correct alignment and properly support the feet. Regular maintenance and checkups will assure that the devices are continuing to work as intended. Your requirements may change with time and factors like weight loss or weight gain. If you feel as though your orthotics are beginning to work differently, it might be time for new scans to continue to provide you with proper support.

Can’t I Just Buy Orthotics From The Store?

Orthotics are not something you can purchase prefabricated from a store. Some stores may tell you that they’re selling you orthotics that are designed to remedy your foot pain or correct structural deformities. If you’re being sold these devices on the spot, they aren’t orthotics. They’re general fit shoe inserts that don’t provide any of the benefits that orthotics provide.

This practice is more than just misleading, and is almost similar to selling medicine without a prescription. Since orthotics are prescription devices, only your doctor knows if and how you will benefit from using them. Assuming you need orthotics and walking into a store that claims to sell you solutions can cause more harm than good, both for your wallet and your health.

These non-returnable general fit devices tend to be the same price as real orthotics. Some insurance companies will cover or subsidize the cost of orthotic devices, making them even less expensive. The biggest difference between spending that amount of money at an “orthotics store” and spending it with an actual orthotist is that only the orthotist can actually provide you with something truly useful.

General fit shoe inserts that are designed to correct problems you may or may not have are likely to do more harm than good. They were made with any foot in mind – not just yours. Finding a general fit shoe insert that will work perfectly for you is much harder than winning the lottery. The chances are so astronomical that it’s virtually impossible.

You might need more correction on one side than the other, or a different kind of correction from the one a shoe insert provides. Wearing improperly fitted generic shoe inserts for a prolonged period of time may actually worsen or cause deformity of your foot.

Don’t spend a substantial amount of money to walk away feeling worse. Take your prescription to an actual Tucson orthotist to have devices properly created for your needs.

The Takeaway

Don’t spend money on a device that you do not actually need that was never made for you – especially when a custom solution targeted to your needs will cost the exact same amount of money in both cases. If you’re in need of orthotics in Tucson and your doctor believes that they are a valuable solution for you, you can always bring your prescription to the experienced orthotics providers at Tony Martin Limb & Brace. We’ll help you find the relief you deserve.