Foot pain can significantly impact your daily life—making even the simplest tasks seem daunting. Many people seek relief with cushioned insoles purchased from pharmacies, discount stores, or online retailers. However, there’s a fundamental difference between cushioning and support when it comes to foot health.
Let’s look at how custom orthotics can provide the support your feet need—and how Lee’s Summit podiatrist Dr. Joel Foster makes it easy, affordable, and convenient to get orthotics that meet your unique foot care needs.
Cushioned Insoles Are a Temporary Fix
Cushioned insoles focus on providing comfort by absorbing shock and reducing pressure on the feet. They often utilize materials like gel, foam, or air pockets to cushion the foot, providing a softer surface for walking or standing. These insoles are popular because they offer temporary relief by mitigating the impact of each step, especially for people who are experiencing discomfort due to prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces.
The problem with cushioned insoles is that cushioning will cause “give” and a lack of support over time—the exact opposite of what you need when you’re dealing with chronic foot pain. For example, memory foam is often used in low-priced over-the-counter insoles. This material tends to give way and compress under pressure. It’s often comfortable initially, but lacks the necessary support for flat feet, high arches, or other specific biomechanical problems and will break down over time due to the continuous compression that occurs with regular wear. Memory foam can also be problematic for athletes or people who engage in activities where dynamic support is crucial, as it does not offer the required responsiveness or stability.
You Need the Support That Custom Orthotics Provide
Custom orthotics offer personalized support that addresses the underlying biomechanical issues causing foot pain. This involves correcting imbalances, aligning the feet, and providing stability to improve overall foot function.
Unlike generic cushioned insoles, custom orthotics are tailored to your foot's contours, providing targeted support where it's most needed. They are made from many different materials, including carbon fiber, thermoplastics, and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) to combine comfort with support and durability.
While cushioned over-the-counter insoles are intended to be a “close enough” option based on a few limited types of foot health needs, making custom orthotics is an exact science. Each pair is one-of-a-kind, whether you’re seeking orthotics to treat plantar fasciosis (commonly but improperly referred to as plantar fasciitis) or another type of foot condition.
Additional benefits of custom orthotics include:
- Custom orthotics can easily be easily transferred between shoes of a similar type, though compatibility may vary when transitioning between different shoe styles (e.g., athletic to dress shoes).
- With proper care, rigid or semi-rigid orthotics generally last around three to five years, and some may last even longer.
- Custom orthotics often have the option of refurbishment or repair rather than necessitating complete replacement.
The Better Feet Package: A Holistic Approach to Foot Health
For people struggling with persistent foot pain, investing in custom orthotics through our Better Feet package is a proactive step toward long-term foot health. The package includes:
- An initial comprehensive office visit
- Onsite X-rays of both feet
- An ultrasound of both feet to visualize the plantar fascial band
- A pair of heat-molded orthotics
- A pair of custom-calibrated foot orthotics
Not only can the Better Feet package help with heel pain, arch pain, and ankle pain, but orthotics can also be useful for addressing knee pain, hip pain, and back pain caused by misaligned feet. This is an all-in-one long-term solution from a board-certified podiatrist.