With Dr. Scholl's promoting 'custom' orthotics that are conveniently recommended based on a foot scan at your local store, it just begs for some professional input.  We have people coming in to see us for a variety of foot complaints and often when orthotics are recommended we are asked what makes what we do any different from the Dr. Scholl's scanner.  There are a few take home points on this topic.

The first thing to appreciate is how complex each individual's foot type is.  While Dr. Scholl's says they have 'custom' arch supports, the true meaning of custom is that the orthotic inserts are created with an impression of your foot and takes into consideration the compensation that your foot and leg while walking.  There are many foot types out there, and there is a lot more to your foot type than arch (low, standard or high). 

Another consideration is that the convenient foot mapping system in your local store is taking one image of your feet in a standing position and only visualizes pressure points of your foot in its compensated form.  Many people can have the same pressure point scan, yet the reason for where there are higher pressures can vary depending upon someone's foot type.  Orthotics recommended simply from looking at pressure points may help some foot types, but not most.

The quality and longevity of an orthotic insert lies in the materials used when creating the insert.  Depending upon your activity level, over the counter arch supports can wear down and lose their supportive properties in as little as a couple months.  By using a custom orthotic insert, the strength of the materials used can be tailored to your needs, such that the supportive portion of the device lasts around a year.  The plastics used in traditional over the counter arch inserts doesn't stand the test of time, so even when they feel good, you may find yourself investing in a new pair multiple times in a given year.

Modifications are a huge perk to custom or semi-custom orthotics through your podiatrist's office.  When an orthotic device is recommended, there are various pads and wedges that can be built into the orthotic to ensure you the support and accommodation you need is there!  In any given foot type, you may have a slight variation to your foot structure or a prominence that needs to be addressed.  Over-the-counter inserts can be 'doctored up' but again - pads that are adhered to the insert can lose their adhesive properties, roll up, move and flatten out over time.

If you feel like you need more support than your shoes offer, or especially if you are experiencing foot pain - come see an expert today!  In a short period of time you will get expert advise and a comprehensive evaluation that takes into account not only the height of your arch, but also whether your forefoot, rear foot or both areas are compensating and also what your feet are doing when you are walking that could be cause of your current issue or future issues.