So, how much are custom-made orthotics and why are they so much more expensive than off-the-shelf? Over-the-counter orthotics can be purchased at almost any store. Custom-made orthotics are designed to fit a particular foot and address specific conditions. A lot of people do find that off-the-shelf orthotics work well for them, however, there are tons of benefits to having a custom-made pair. So, how much are custom-made orthotics and why are they so much more expensive than off-the-shelf?
Orthotics are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and materials. Off-the-shelf orthotics cost anywhere between $20.00 to $80.00. They can be very useful in some cases and in more mild conditions, however, due to the lower quality materials, you may find they are less cost-effective because you may need to replace them more frequently. They are not designed to address a specific condition or fit a specific foot.
Custom-made orthotics can cost between $200.00 to $800.00. They are tailored to the individuals needs and are designed for a wide range of conditions, from plantar fasciitis to treating foot ulcers and painful calluses. When you purchase custom-made orthotics, you are investing in your health.
There are 4 main reasons why custom-made orthotics are more expensive:
#1 The Manufacturing Process:
To fabricate your custom-made orthotics is a multi-step process. It begins with an examination of your foot, then you will need to provide your foot impressions. Next, some information regarding your foot/orthotic history, your lifestyle habits, as well as any information you can provide regarding the footwear you intend to wear your orthotics in. Once the lab receives your information and impressions, the fabrication of your orthotics begins. Orthotics Direct has manufactured over a MILLION pairs of custom-made orthotics.
#2 The Materials:
The materials used to build your custom-made orthotic is decided based on the individual's needs. Your lifestyle, habits, and foot conditions will be taken into consideration when deciding. The materials need to be able to withstand the weight put on them, as well as be suitable for your particular condition. Some people may require their orthotics to be more rigid in order to control their feet, or more flexible to allow their feet some movement, due to the type of physical activity they do.
#3 The Customization:
As mentioned, your custom-made orthotics are designed to the specific contours and needs of each individual’s foot. This kind of customization takes time and requires skilled labour, which costs more than a one-size-fits all, off-the-shelf solution. Some people need to add a lift to their orthotic, or extra padding to support the forefoot.
#4 The Specialists Involved:
The average joe doesn’t make your custom orthotics. They are fabricated by a team of skilled technicians with years of experience. Oftentimes, you would visit a specialist such as a podiatrist, practitioner, chiropodist, etc, who has experience with different foot problems and understands foot biomechanics. Orthotics Direct advisory team is made up of practitioners, pedorthists, and technicians who all understand the benefits and importance of foot health.
Conditions That Benefit From Custom-Made Orthotics
While some people with certain foot conditions may be able to use off-the-shelf orthotics, certain conditions warrant custom orthotics. Foot pain is caused by foot biomechanical problems. It can occur in the toes, heel, or arch of your foot. Foot pain is also associated with bunions, metatarsalgia, and plantar fasciitis. Back pain often develops without any cause, and can range from a muscle ache or a shooting, burning, or stabbing sensation. It is usually linked to muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Hip pain is commonly caused by arthritis, fractures, bursitis, tendinitis, or a strain or tear. Most people experience discomfort or pain in the thigh, groin, or the inside/outside of the hip joint. Sometimes, pain from other areas of your body may radiate to the hip.
People who suffer from back, hip, or foot pain often turn to orthotics to help relieve some of the discomfort they are experiencing.
As always, there is no ‘one size fits all’ and what may work for one person, may not work for you. It’s important that you are making the right choice for your feet and what is going to provide you with the best possible foot health.