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Why choose custom orthotics?
When you want to prevent or alleviate foot pain and joint issues—such as knee, hip, back and ankle pain—you will find the most common product for that purpose is a custom orthotic or insole for your shoes. Custom orthotics work because foot and joint pain is often a symptom of misalignment and imbalance—your body is interacting with the ground in a way that causes unnecessary wear and tear when you stand, walk, or run. The proper custom orthotic brings your body back into alignment and supports the foundation of your health.
What is a custom orthotic?
A custom orthotic is a replacement insole designed just for your feet.
Similar to a custom suit, it involves a highly-trained tailor using his or her expertise to make something just for you. Custom orthotics from Foot Solutions are designed exclusively for you by a professional after a thorough evaluation and mapping of your feet. But unlike a custom suit, custom orthotics do more than fit well; they improve balance, correct alignment, and relieve pain. They optimize and maintain the complex machinery that exists inside your feet—what Leonardo da Vinci called “a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”
Compare a truly custom orthotic from Foot Solutions with an over-the-counter insole or arch support from competitors. These products are inferior to truly custom orthotics and sold the same way an off-the-rack suit is sold in a department store. When you visit a department store, store associates are trained to sell a product that, at best, resembles your body type. That associate will often have a measuring tape and a general knowledge of clothing, but he or she is often unqualified and more concerned with sales rather than solutions. As a result, the best you can hope for—even after a few alterations—is a suit that fits just well enough.
Do I really need custom orthotics?
Your feet were designed to grip and adjust to dirt and grass underfoot as you move. Nowadays, most people live and work on hard concrete and stiff flooring, preventing feet from functioning as purposed. Consequently, your feet need more than the flimsy, unsupportive inserts that come in your shoes. You need true support and a design that is optimized for your specific feet.
Your feet are the foundation of your health. Foot pain and discomfort is evidence of larger issues that can extend to your knees, hips, and back. All feet are unique and extremely complex relative to the rest of the biomechanical systems of your body. Your feet have over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, as well as 26 bones, 33 joints, and 7,000 nerve endings. In a lifetime, your feet will carry you the equivalent of three or four times around the globe, absorbing several thousand pounds of pressure each day.
What technology is used in custom orthotics?
In the insole market, technology is used primarily for three different functions: diagnostic, design, and selling. Unfortunately, shoe stores and arch support retailers use technology almost exclusively as selling props. These product companies place customers on scanning and pressure mapping devices as a sales technique, being trained in sales rather than foot care. He or she has little flexibility in what can be recommended to the customer.
Alternatively, Foot Solutions is a service company. Our staff are highly-trained and able to read the output of pressure mapping technology and digital scanning devices in order to recommend solutions and design custom orthotics that work specifically for you and your needs. We are not limited by what’s on the shelf; our technology guides recommendations to improve your foot health, not sell products.
Foot Scanning Technology: Selling Prop or Helpful Tool?
What options do I have for the construction of the orthotic?
A truly custom orthotic incorporates the materials that are best for you, including the right type and density of material, the placement of different types of cushioning, the right top coating, and the right supportive elements specifically for you. All feet are different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. This is why expertise is so important. You are looking for an expert service provider, not a product company pushing you into one specific product that may or may not work. There are several good options to choose from when crafting a custom orthotic, but only an expert can select those material options effectively and for your benefit.
Who should I trust to design custom orthotics?
At Foot Solutions, our board-certified foot experts understand foot care and how to maintain your feet. Our scientific analysis and expertly fit, truly custom orthotics are undoubtedly the ideal way to ensure your feet are properly cared for. When you visit a Foot Solutions location, we take time to thoroughly understand your needs, analyze your gait, and map every millimeter of your feet with our state-of-the-art equipment.
Oftentimes, stores rely on technology to sell insoles and use unqualified staff to pressure the sale rather than educate the customer. Remember, your body’s alignment, overall stability, joint health, and basic ability to move comfortably all start with your feet. An unqualified person toying with your feet can be bad for your health. He or she may do more harm than good and end up causing foot and joint pain you otherwise would not have experienced. The bottom line is this: Make sure the person selling you a custom orthotic is qualified and trained specifically in foot health.
Watch the five part video series below to ensure you know the right questions to ask when searching for a custom orthotic.
- Ask This Before Buying Custom Orthotics: Part IRuntime: 02:31
- Ask This Before Buying Custom Orthotics: Part IIRuntime: 02:17
- Ask This Before Buying Custom Orthotics: Part IIIRuntime: 02:10
- Ask This Before Buying Custom Orthotics: Part IVRuntime: 01:58
- Ask This Before Buying Custom Orthotics: Part VRuntime: 02:01
Is there a way to make adjustments to my custom orthotics?
When you receive your custom orthotics, they may fit perfectly under your feet and in your shoes. That said, oftentimes orthotics need adjusting to improve fit or comfort. A store that sells you custom orthotics should be able to bring you in for a fitting to test out the feel of the orthotics and the fit in your shoes. Once that is done, if there are any issues, the store should be able to modify the orthotic right there. All Foot Solutions locations, for instance, have a workshop in the backroom complete with tools needed for grinding, heat molding, bending and adjusting your orthotics. We have invested in this type of equipment so that we can adjust and craft orthotics based on your in-person feedback at the store. Most other providers send designs and molds to an outsourced manufacturer. Once you receive the finished product you are stuck with it, even if it fits poorly.
Is this a custom or "customized" product?
A custom orthotic is designed and crafted just for you, by an expert, after a thorough analysis and mapping of your feet. A “customized” product is different. These are what you might call over-the-counter insoles or arch supports selected for you by a salesperson. Over-the-counter insoles are not ideal, but they can be helpful, and they are less expensive. However, you still need an expert who knows how to conduct an analysis to determine the best option for you.
What shoes do you carry that pair well with custom orthotics?
Often overlooked in custom orthotic selection is the important question as to what shoe is going to house the custom orthotic. A properly designed custom orthotic is made ineffective when placed in a shoe that isn’t constructed in a way that supports the orthotic and is properly fitted for the lifestyle of the customer. You wouldn’t place a thick accommodative custom orthotic in a flimsy athletic shoe with a shallow toe box, for instance. That would defeat the purpose of the orthotic. This is why it’s important for the custom orthotic supplier to also stock several brands of footwear that can be tried on and recommended to complement the orthotic. It’s also important that the expert who helps designs the custom orthotic knows why he or she would recommend a certain shoe.