questionsare podiatrists' custom orthotics worth it?

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Boxers or briefs? It is a personal decision, but I have flat feet and found them to not be any better than OTC inserts. YMMV...

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In my opinion, no, the Podiatrist's product is not worth bothering with - especially to the tune of $600. I do think orthotics can help and I have been happy with the generics available at Costco and the SuperFeet product at sporting goods stores. Dr. Scholls is supposed to have some sort of an orthotic fitting kiosk at Walmarts. At the very least I would start with one of those and a really good unfashionable shoe before wasting my money on the Podiatrist - unless you have some overt malformation of your foot. I would also give up running/jogging and try exercising with less impact.

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I have very flat feet. I wear customs. My feet were molded and they were made. The older I get the more I wear them. $600 is a bit high is there someone else you can go to? HSA pays for this stuff (if you have HSA).

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they have this really cool thing at walmart now that you stand on and it measures your weight distribution, etc and recommends inserts - they are around $40 - my husband is flat footed and has tried many things, these actually work

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NO, unless you have some type of medical condition. I have a friend whose one leg is longer than the other, not dramatically just an inch-or-so, and the orthotics have made a huge improvement to his quality of life.
What? No it's not me. I'm talking about my friend....

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I make them for a living and if you have serious foot problems then the short answer it yes, they are very much worth it. If you don't have SERIOUS foot issues (ulcers, bunions, plantar fascitis, etc) then your podiatrist should at least be informing you and providing you with another option - a customized, prefabricated insole. "In fact, a study published in the July issue of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society's journal found no significant difference in the incidence of foot problems between users of custom orthotics and those who wore over-the-counter devices." (Runner's World, Aug 2004). Unless you fall into the group of severely injured feet and your insurance won't cover it, then buy a quality over-the-counter orthotic from a specialty shoe store (running shoe stores will have ones for all activity levels) and then if necessary you can ask your podiatrist to customize it for you... for a fee of course, but nowhere near $600. PS: Dr. Scholl's is a waste of money IMHO.

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I've had Walkfits for years. They are the ones that are on infomercials. You can get them for about $20 and they have 3 different heights of inserts. They take some time getting use to and you need to follow directions, but they are definitely worth it. http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=orthotics&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2434574414558344812&sa=X&ei=B0J7Tq2YLvSNsALXmZHcAw&ved=0CIMBEPMCMAg

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My wife had a set of custom inserts made last year from a store that specializes in making them. They only cost around $250, but they have been worth every penny. It all depends on what sort of foot problems you have. I prefer a little more arch support than I get from my shoes, but OTC inserts work just fine.

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I was not at all happy with Good Feet a couple of years ago. If you have a Happy Feet store near you, they also have a machine that shows the hot spots on your feet. The orthotics I purchased from them were $59 and worth every penny. I took the insole out of my $160 New Balance which were fitted to me for my recovering ruptured plantar fascia and their orthotic felt much, much better. Foot problems are a real curse. My podiatrist does not make custom orthotics at all. There is a place here that does, but as other people have said here, it is only in the most severe cases. I wore a walking boot for about six months, but that is not necessary for you as it sounds.

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@gretchena: Yeah, i've been thinking about getting a pair of the Dr Scholl's ones that they have at the pharmacys here, probably the same thing you're talking about.

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She tried the Dr. Scholl's inserts; they weren't long enough to support the whole foot, so they were uncomfortable.

She is now and has for the last few weeks been wearing a boot on one foot. The podiatrist says that the way she walks is putting excess strain on some ligaments (more so in one foot than in the other, one is tearing) and causing misalignment in the knees, hips, and back. The ligament strain is causing foot pain and the misalignment in her back is causing back pain.

Another podiatrist who could provide custom orthotics would charge a little more, but still in the $600 range.

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@chris12345: One thing I learned the hard way in wearing the boot is that it is essential to wear a shoe that equalizes the height of the foot so that they are even when walking. I know it sounds crazy that I did not think of that, but I wore a sandal on the good foot. It throws you off so much that everything hurts even more - back, hips, etc. My sympathies to your wife/girlfriend (sorry, my screen won't scroll at the moment). Just tell her to have patience (I am not endowed with much at all) because it takes a long, long while for everything to feel ok again. She will probably then be looking at PT after awhile? It helped, especially if one developes balance issues.

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@gretchena: mine are so flat the Wal-Mart machine told me to take off my shoes.