Custom Orthotics

What Are They?

Custom orthotics are specially made devices designed to support and provide comfort your feet. Prescription orthotics are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Podiatrists use orthotics to treat foot problems such as: plantar fasciitis; bursitis; tendinitis; bunions; hammertoes; diabetic foot ulcers; and foot, ankle, and heel pain.


How Prescription Custom Orthotics Differ From Shoe Inserts

Shoe inserts may come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they’re not custom-designed for your feet. Custom orthotics are manufactured only after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet and ankles. The information gathered during the exam will help your podiatrist determine if shoe inserts might be helpful or if you need prescription orthotics.

If orthotics are needed, your podiatrist will acquire a “custom mapping” of the foot by either scanning or taking an impression of the feet.  These images, as well as any measurements obtained by your podiatrist, are used to create a set of unique foot supports that will improve your foot movement and lead to more comfort and mobility.



Prescription orthotics are divided into two categories:

Functional orthotics are usually crafted of a semi- exible to rigid material such as polypropylene or graphite. They may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion; they can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis.

Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other uncomfortable conditions.

True or False?

Orthotics are very expensive and don’t last for a long period of time.

False. Orthotics do typically cost more than insoles purchased in a retail store, but the additional cost is worth it since the process requires prescription “mapping” of the foot to personalize the orthotic to your unique needs. Prescription orthotics are also made of specialized materials designed for long-term use when cared for properly. Insurance often helps pay for prescription orthotics.

The information above is provided through the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Dr. Alicakos specializes in pediatric medicine including diagnosis, treatment, and surgery. If you have ankle or foot problems, heel pain, neuropathy or joint problems, visit Comprehensive Family Foot Care, PA.  We are also known for our treatment of sports injuries.