Custom orthotics are a common treatment to foot problems like fallen arches, flat feet and plantar fasciitis. Before visiting a podiatrist it is important to understand; how much do custom orthotics cost? And, are they really worth the price?
The cost of custom orthotics typically ranges between $300 and $600.
Custom orthotics are often associated with the use of higher quality and more expensive materials, but what are you really paying for in custom orthotics?
Inflated Cost- Naturally, being a business the cost of orthotics and meeting with a podiatrist will result in higher charges.
Examination - Preformed during your consultation, a podiatrist will conduct a complete analysis of lifestyle, body type, and gait; along X-Rays and diagnosis of any identified foot issues.
While most medical insurance companies cover most of the cost of a visit to the podiatrist — if your deductible is already met — you will probably have to pay a small copay, usually in the range of $20 to $40.
If you are uninsured, however, check with your doctor’s office before visiting to find out all of the costs involved, which could be hundreds of dollars or more. This amount can go up, however, if the podiatrist takes an x-ray or you have lab work during your visit.
When considering if custom orthotics are worth the money it's important to take into consideration factors; such as advantages and disadvantages, longevity, and off-the-shelf alternatives.
Some say custom orthotics offer a more custom fit compared to standard orthotics because the podiatrist makes the orthotic from a mold of your foot.
But does the customization really make a big difference when comparing custom orthotics to off-the-shelf orthotics?
With the high price mark on custom orthotics, it's only natural to consider the alternative...
Custom orthotics last anywhere from two to five years, depending in large part on the materials used in the orthotics' construction, the type of activities you perform, your weight, and orthotic care.
Foot orthotics come in a variety of types, from heel and arch supports to full-foot insoles that fit in your shoes. Depending on the problems you have, there is more than likely an orthotic to fix it.
Orthotics are said to work by correcting alignment problems in the body, but this isn’t exactly proven.
Regardless of how they work, orthotics may reduce pain and prevent injury in the short term. There are some medical professionals, however, who cast doubt on the long-term effects of orthotics and whether they cause more problems in the long run.
Getting a custom orthotic requires more than just going to the podiatrist and picking one up. It is a multistep process, with a visit to the podiatrist just the first step. It takes roughly two weeks to make a mold for custom orthotics.
The first thing a podiatrist does after examining and determining your particular foot problem is to make a cast of your foot, or both of your feet if necessary. A podiatrist usually has you sit down so they can wrap wet plaster strips around your foot. Or, they may have you lie down so they can scan your foot with a machine made for this purpose.
Another way to make a negative of your foot includes using what is called a stomp box. With a stomp box, you step into a mold material, which forms an imprint of your foot. From this mold, a casting of your foot is made at the lab.
The mold, scan, or stomp box is then sent to the lab, where the cast or scan data of your foot is used to make a life-size cast. This cast of your foot is then pressed against heated graphite or a plastic material, leaving an imprint on the material. For areas that require more hardness, a harder material, such as a thermoplastic, is attached to reinforce the area.
In addition to harder materials, softer, cushioning materials are added in the lab to the custom orthotic where needed for additional comfort. When finished, the lab sends the orthotic back to your podiatrist who has you come in to check and make sure that the orthotic works as it should.
When treating a foot, ankle, or knee problem, make sure to talk with a podiatrist to see what your options are. If they determine that you need an orthotic, they will recommend one that works best to alleviate your specific problem.
As part of the custom orthotic process, the podiatrist makes a mold of your foot. This helps determine the shape of your foot and which type and shape of orthotic can best work with your particular situation. Once the proper orthotic type is determined, taking into consideration type and materials, your orthotics are then custom created.
Ultimately, the goal of the podiatrist when making a custom orthotic is to improve your overall quality of life and make it easier for you to get around with as little pain as possible.