Orthotics are devices you put into your shoe to support and cushion your foot.  Orthotics can be over the counter (OTC), or custom made.  The differences are quite simple to understand.  An OTC device is one you purchase at a drugstore or Walmart type of store.  They are a one size fits all and most provide only cushioning that lasts for a few days then the device flattens out and your foot feels about the same.  A custom device requires a mold be made of your foot and then the mold is sent to a lab to be made.  It is done by a doctor.  It is best made by a podiatrist because the podiatrist will do a complete physical exam and understand the reason you do or do not need a custom device. 

It is important to understand the difference between the two types of devices because both play an important role in foot health.  The short video I made below helps explain the differences.  Just don't be fooled by a slick sales pitch at a store like "the good foot store" or "foot solutions" where they tell you how much better you will be with there "orthotic".  While what they offer may in fact help, the price you pay for their OTC device is not needed.  I recommend Superfeet or Powersteps as first line OTC orthotics.  Both are in the $30-$40 range.  They can be purchased online at somewhere like explainthepain.com, or at specialty running stores.  If an OTC device will work for you one of theirs will.  And they will last for several months depending on how you wear them.

For custom devices you will need to see a podiatrist and have an exam so that special modifications can be put into the orthotic.  A cast is made using either plaster or digital scanning.  It generally takes about 10-14 days to get your custom orthotic because it has to be sent to a lab to be made.  Remember that when you go to Walmart and see the fancy Dr. Scholl's scanner that says "custom orthotic" on it they are misleading you because they are providing you with a device that is NOT custom but is really an OTC device.  

The Neuhaus Foot and Ankle podiatrists are board certified with an extensive knowledge of the foot and ankle. They will help you decide if you need an over-the-counter orthotic or a custom device.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, you can contact us using the appointment request or contact us form. You can also call the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle office at 615-220-8788 or at our toll-free number 888-713-0906.


Neuhaus Foot & Ankle
300 Stonecrest Blvd. Suite 450
Smyrna, TN 37167
(615) 220-8788