Custom orthotics and footwear are custom devices made for a specific user. If you're interested in a pair of prescription orthotics, that means you will need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation. Your new pair of shoes will be designed according to your specific needs.
Unlike regular footwear, where only the length and width of your feet are necessary, in custom orthotics, you will have your feet, ankles, and legs assessed. Your unique foot structure is examined.
You'll likely come across two types of custom orthotics: functional orthotics and accommodative orthotics.
Podiatrists, or foot and lower leg health specialists, recommend the use of orthotics to address foot problems, such as heel pain. These custom footwear types ease the discomfort in your feet and improve their movements.
Prescription footwear naturally costs more than shoe inserts because they're specially crafted for the wearer. They're based on medical evaluations of the user's feet, so the extra cost is well worth it.
Shoe inserts, on the other hand, are mass-produced. They're available almost anywhere and don't offer the value that custom orthotics provide. They're made to be placed in your shoes to add height or serve as a cushion, but, in general, they're not capable of addressing foot-related medical conditions.
The only exception is if it was your doctor who recommended the use of shoe inserts. Then, in that case, they may be able to offer more value. Only prescription footwear can fix foot problems and treat chronic issues.
If you are not experiencing any issues with your feet, ankles, or lower leg areas, then it may be fine to start off with shoe inserts.
However, if you're noticing irregularities with your foot motion or have been in pain for a while now, it pays to see a podiatrist for a comprehensive evaluation. This way, they can check your feet, diagnose the issue, and identify potential causes. Expect to have your feet, walking, and running mechanisms assessed.
Your podiatrist will need to check how your feet function when performing routine activities. The data they gather will allow them to determine whether you need custom orthotics and footwear. During your consultation, you're also bound to receive professional advice on how you can improve your foot health.
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