Well-made, custom molded orthotics (a pair of orthotics made for a particular individual) are quite expensive ($300 and up). There is a small group of people that will benefit from this kind of custom solution. Custom molded orthotics have the goal to control pronation and increase the comfort and performance of footwear. There are many providers for custom molded orthotics, and some are better than others. Here are a few considerations for finding a great provider.
- Hands-On Evaluation – Great custom molded orthotics cannot be made without a face-to-face visit. There are a variety of providers who will send out a "Stomp Box," a piece of impression foam in a box. You are instructed to step into the box with each foot and send the resulting impressions off to make your orthotics. Unfortunately, without an experienced provider to position your foot as it makes the impression, your dysfunctional biomechanics may be built into the design of your orthotics.
- Type of Provider – A certified Pedorthist (C. Ped) diagnoses foot problems and prescribes orthotics. I have found that C. Peds often have the most hands-on experience with orthotics and functional biomechanics. A C. Ped would be my first choice for a provider. Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in feet. They can diagnose foot problems and prescribe orthotics as well as perform surgery to fix problems. Because they are more focused on surgery, they would be my second choice. A chiropractor is involved with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Some provide custom orthotics, but because orthotics are a subset of what they do, chiropractors would be my last choice.
- Years of Experience – Getting custom molded orthotics right is a challenging mix of art and science. It takes years of experience to learn the subtleties of making custom orthotics that meet both the functional and the comfort needs of the client. Choosing someone with a long history of success will increase the chances that the orthotics will be right – the first time.
- Hands-On Fabrication – Some practitioners evaluate a client's needs, then transmit the info to a lab that creates the actual orthotics. While this system can work, having the orthotics made at the place of the diagnoses prevents errors in communication and insures that modifications can be easily made if necessary.
Finding a great provider for custom molded orthotics can be challenging. If Tread Labs can help in any way, please reach out to us for assistance. Healthy, comfortable feet are our goal.