Do I Really Need Orthotics?

Maybe you're wondering if orthotics are the answer to your foot problems. In a world full of confusing information and differing opinions on orthotics, it's tough to figure things out.

At Honsberger Physio+, our goal is to give you an honest assessment about your needs. Let's look at the different options available, both custom and non-custom orthotics.

Custom vs. Non-custom Orthotics:

Custom orthotics are designed to fit your unique feet and specific needs.

Creating custom orthotics involves making an exact 3D image of your foot using techniques like foam casting, plaster casting, laser scanning, or contact digitizing. Insurance companies often require that insured orthotic devices are made using approved 3D casting techniques.

We also do a thorough biomechanical exam and gait analysis to figure out the right orthotic correction for you. Precise measurements of your feet are taken to make sure your custom foot orthotics are a perfect match.

Custom orthotics are great for dealing with significant over-pronation (that's when your arches collapse), which can lead to more pain and symptoms. They usually come with special features to position your foot bones optimally for proper function.

Custom orthotics are usually posted. This is a major difference between custom and non-custom devices. Posting allows us to position the bones of your feet in optimal positions that allow for proper foot function.

Accommodations are easily added to custom devices. Pain that may require special accommodations built into the orthotics can arise from plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, neuromas, metatarsalgia, bunions, hammer toes, great (big) toe pain, sesamoiditis, etc.

Custom foot orthotics are more costly than non-custom devices but are usually covered by extended health care plans. You should always check your plan to see if you have orthotic coverage and the requirements eg. prescription, dispensing parameters, etc.

Non-custom devices are usually fitted based on shoe size. They are not custom to your feet but are based on the average foot. Because of this they are usually softer which allows for variances in arch height, foot size and shape. Non-custom devices usually rely on arch support and heel cupping to improve foot function. Posting and the array of accommodations found in custom orthotics are not available. Non-custom devices are usually used with mild over-pronation. If you have a mildly flat arch or mild symptoms non-custom devices are often adequate. Non-custom devices are more affordable than custom orthotics but are not covered by insurance.

Why Might You Need Orthotics?

Orthotics can be a game-changer for individuals dealing with a variety of issues beyond just foot discomfort. They're often prescribed to alleviate problems like chronic back pain, which can be linked to poor foot mechanics and posture.

They can provide relief for those with flat feet, a condition where the arches of the feet don't adequately support the body, causing discomfort and potential issues in the knees, hips, and lower back. So, whether you're grappling with foot pain, back pain, or related problems, orthotics can offer a tailored solution to improve your overall well-being.

If you have specific foot issues like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, neuromas, metatarsalgia, bunions, hammer toes, great toe pain, sesamoiditis, etc., custom orthotics can be tailored to accommodate those needs.

While custom orthotics may cost more, they're often covered by extended health care plans. Be sure to check your plan for coverage details, like prescription requirements.

Non-custom insoles, on the other hand, are usually based on shoe size and aren't personalized for your feet. They're designed to fit the average foot, which means they're softer and can accommodate variations in arch height, foot size, and shape.

Non-custom insoles rely on arch support and heel cupping to improve foot function and don't offer the same level of customization as custom orthotics. They're typically used for mild over-pronation or mild symptoms.

Non-custom insoles are a more affordable option, but they're often not covered by insurance.

How Do I Know if Orthotics Are Right For Me?

It depends on the severity of your foot issues, especially over-pronation. If your problems are mild, non-custom options like Superfeet insoles can often provide enough support. But if your over-pronation is more pronounced, you may need a custom option.

If you're unsure about the best choice, come see us at Honsberger Physio+. We'll give you straightforward, honest advice on what's best for your unique situation.

How Do You Know If Orthotics Are Working?

It's important to pay attention to how your body responds. A clear sign that they are working is a reduction in pain or discomfort. If you had been dealing with issues like foot pain, back pain, or knee discomfort, and you start to notice these symptoms diminishing, that's a positive indicator.

Additionally, improved posture, stability, and enhanced mobility are telltale signs that orthotics are making a positive impact. At Honsberger Physio+, we recommend regular follow-ups to assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your orthotics continue to serve you well. Your comfort and well-being are our top priorities.

And don't forget to check out our range of insole products, including Superfeet insoles, to find the right fit for your needs. At Honsberger Physio+, we're here to help you take better care of your feet, without all the fuss.

Learn More About Our Orthotics Services

Book an Orthotics Assessment in Aurora (905) 841-0411 or Markham (905) 940-2627

About the author: Brent Andrews is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Foot Specialist and Custom Orthotics Expert. Brent worked with the Toronto Blue Jays and specializes in prevention and rehab of baseball injuries, performance, swing and throwing analysis. Brent has been part of the Honsberger Physio+ team since 2001.

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
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81 Temperance Street, Aurora, ON L4G 2R1 P (905) 841-0411 F (905) 841-7311 AURORA@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM