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Custom Orthotics vs. Insoles from a Discount Store Kiosk

Top ten reasons to walk past the kiosk and head straight for your podiatrist.

Do you have heel or arch pain, flat feet, weak ankles or just general foot fatigue?  Are you thinking that arch supports may be the answer?  You may want to think again before throwing $50 down on a pair of over-the-counter insoles that were recommended for you by a machine at your local discount store.  Here are the top ten reasons to pass the kiosk and just keep walking:

  1. There is no podiatrist hiding inside the machine, offering sound medical advice.  It’s a machine that uses images of your feet to “recommend” an over-the-counter product.   They may call it “custom fit”, but it’s not custom-made.  It’s no more custom than any other over-the-counter arch support.  It doesn’t know the position that your feet are supposed to function in.
  2. The machine does not take an extensive history of your condition.  No biomechanical exam is performed.  It doesn’t know when your pain started or why, or what activities aggravate the condition and what seems to help.  It doesn’t know exactly where your pain is: is it just localized beneath the heel, or does it seem to travel around the ankle and up your leg?   These are some of the questions a foot specialist needs to know in order to recommend the appropriate treatment and to decide whether insoles of any type are even the right direction to go in.
  3. Over-the-counter insoles can’t give you the ideal support that your individual feet need.  Let’s assume that your pain is the result of “fallen arches” or unstable feet.  The machine can only get an impression or image of your feet when you’re standing, which is, of course, getting an impression of your feet in their already unstable position.  So how can it recommend the right support if it doesn’t know the position your feet are supposed to be in?
  4. More goes into custom-molded orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist than meets the eye.  They’re called custom-molded for a reason.  First of all, molds are taken of your feet so that the molds reflect the position your feet are supposed to function in, not the position they have been functioning in.  The orthotics made from those molds will then maintain that optimal position, eliminating instability and muscle imbalance.  Also, the amount of flexibility put into the orthotics is different from person to person, and is based on the flexibility you have in your feet, or conversely, the amount of support that your feet need.  Someone with a more rigid foot will need a different amount of flexibility in the orthotic than someone with a foot that flattens like a pancake.  It’s not just an arch height thing.  It’s way more complicated than that.
  5. What if your machine-recommended insoles don’t help?  What if the insoles make the condition worse?  You can’t go back to the machine for additional advice.   Well, you can, but it would be a very short conversation.  A doctor, specializing in foot conditions, has an arsenal of treatment options available in order to properly treat you and eliminate your pain quickly.
  6. Your health insurance won’t cover your over-the-counter insoles, but often covers custom orthotics when medically necessary and prescribed by your foot doctor.
  7. Would you buy a pair of off-the-shelf reading glasses when you’re nearsighted with an astigmatism and really need prescription lenses?
  8. Kansas City Foot and Ankle is so confident that you will be happy with your custom orthotics that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee.  If, for any reason you’re unhappy with your orthotics, we will gladly refund your money.  In full.  No problem.  With customer service like that, why would you want medical care from a machine?Podiatrists are the experts in foot biomechanics.
  9. Dr. Mark Green has over 20 years of experience treating people with foot and ankle pain as a result of flat feet, over pronation and instability.  You want the proper advice the first time; not from a machine, but from a board certified foot and ankle specialist.
  10. The podiatrists with Kansas City Foot and Ankle have a much better bedside manner than any machine at your local discount store.  Really.

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