Over-the-counter shoe inserts vs. custom prescription orthotics

shoe inserts vs. custom prescription orthotics | Ontario Foot & Orthotics (Cambridge)

Is there really a difference between a shoe insert bought at a drugstore and a custom orthotic?

What's the difference between the two?

When you have discomfort in your feet, it’s only natural to look for solutions. Some will try over-the-counter (OTC) foot inserts to try and get relief, while others seek professional advice from a foot care specialist and get a custom solution, prescription orthotics.

A store bought insert/insole usually provides cushioning, or has pre-moulded arch support and can assist in correcting foot structure. However, despite relieving mild to moderate discomforts, such inserts can increase foot problems as they wear down, so it is important to replace them regularly. What has also been commonly found is that each of your feet can be unique from each other, so each may have different support requirements. So how is it possible that a standard OTC foot insert solves different problems uniquely appearing in each foot? Keep in mind that if there is inadequate support, other problems can develop.

The best route to take is to see your registered foot care specialist. A chiropodist will assess the needs of each of your feet and recommend a custom solution that also suits your lifestyle, work requirements and the type of exercise that you enjoy the most. Your chiropodist may recommend either non-custom inserts, or prescription orthotics. It would depend on your unique needs and your budget. Prescription foot orthotics are covered by most extended health insurance benefit plans and best solve your foot problem for a long term solution.

In addition to obtaining the proper supportive orthotics, your chiropodist will also make preventive suggestions to optimize your foot health. This may include advice on which style of shoe best fits your feet, foot care instructions, sports medicine and much more.

Ujala is a certified chiropodist who graduated with a B.A. from McMaster University in Biological Anthropology and then went on to attend The Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences where she received her advanced diploma of Health Sciences in Podiatric Medicine.   In good standing with the College of Chiropodist of Ontario, she possesses clinical experience in both private practice and public health. In 2011, Ujala completed the International Interprofessional Wound Care Course through the University of Toronto and is now a certified wound care specialist. 

Ujala practices at Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Milton and Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Cambridge where she offers a variety of foot care services that include general foot care, custom orthotics and orthopaedic shoes, diabetic foot care, wound care, warts and fungal infections, ingrown toenails, various surgical procedures, compression stockings, and more