What are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are an important treatment used to reduce pain and inflammation for many conditions. We use a method to create your custom orthotics called casting (very simply, we make a cast mold of your feet) which yields the very best results for our patients.

At Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic we are able to create custom orthotics and also size and fit you with a correct shoe for your foot type.  Our doctors work closely with our highly trained staff to help with all of your shoe and orthotic needs.

Why are Custom Orthotics better than regular inserts?

Custom orthotics are individually customized arch supports that are intended to correct an abnormal, or irregular, foot structure or walking pattern. They are worn in regular shoes to provide support and to properly realign the issues causing pain. They perform functions that make standing, walking, and running more comfortable and efficient by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes the ground. We evaluate your specific foot structure and any pain you are experiencing, as well as any unique walking patterns or bone structures to create a prescription custom orthotic that is just perfect for you and your feet. Regular inserts just can't compare! Take a look at the graphic below to begin to understand just how much better a Custom Orthotic is! 

comparison graphic of three cars - a small red car, a white suv and a black sports car

Like a luxury performance car for your feet, to keep them purring along and very comfortable, custom orthotics are made to be perfect for you!

Do Custom Orthotics look different than inserts? 

Custom orthotics look on the surface very much like regular inserts, but when you peel back the layers (don't actually do that to your new custom orthotics though!) you will see that they are much different. Various materials are used in different combinations with the ultimate goal of improving foot function and minimizing stresses that are causing pain. The specific choices vary by individual need and diagnosis. More detailed information on the differences can be found in this article by Dr. Doyle.

How are Custom Orthotics made?

The process of making a custom orthotic begins with an assessment by one of our doctors. After a through examination of both feet while standing and sitting as well as sometimes via X-ray, we determine if orthotics are medically necessary. Our staff and doctors then work together to take cast impressions of the feet (called casting), which only takes a few minutes. Our doctors then write a prescription for the patient, which is sent along with the cast impressions to our orthotic lab, where the customized orthotics are hand made for each individual patient.

After about 3 weeks, the custom orthotics are returned to our clinic, at which time we call you to let you know your custom orthotics have arrived and if you haven't already set up a dispensing appointment, we move forward with making one.

What should I expect at my Custom Orthotics Dispensing Appointment?

When you come for your custom orthotics dispensing appointment, we provide instructions for break-in and check you for fit. It is really important to bring the shoes you plan to wear most with your orthotics along to your dispensing appointment. This appointment is a great time to ask any questions you may have. We will also make sure you are aware of any special offers we may have for ordering an additional pair of custom orthotics for another pair of shoes (see below for more details on why this is beneficial!) Before you leave, we will schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure your investment in your health is doing all that it is supposed to do - keeping your feet comfortable and healthy!

Why would I want an additional pair of Custom Orthotics? 

There are a variety of reasons why you may want more than one pair of custom orthotics. Orthotics are an investment in your health. When we evaluate your feet, develop a prescription and create your custom orthotics, a lot of work goes into making sure they are perfect so that they can do the job they are designed to do. However, once we have the perfect custom orthotic, making a 2nd identical pair is not so much work. Therefore, we offer a discount for an additional pair so that you can get more protection and comfort in another set of shoes (think about those dress shoes you wear to work everyday, or your sport shoes) for a limited time after your casting is completed. This additional pair makes your original investment last longer, by spreading out the wear and tear on the first pair. Think of it this way, if you wear just one pair of shoes all day, every day, they wear out faster than if you alternate between two pairs, right? The same is true for your custom orthotics, so getting that additional pair at the discounted price may be right for you. In addition, you may find that your custom orthotics don't fit in both pairs of shoes that you love, and therefore getting a 2nd pair just makes sense. 

How long do Custom Orthotics Last? 

Just like your shoes, custom orthotics do wear out with use. We can't say for sure how long they will last for you because that is dependent on your activity level, activity type and how much time you spend using them! What we can say for sure is that we will be happy to send you an annual reminder to come in for your re-evaluation appointment. During this annual appointment, we will look at your custom orthotics, your shoes, and of course your feet to make sure your custom orthotics are still doing the job they are intended for. If they are, then we will recommend a future date for another evaluation (typically another 6 months or a year). If they aren't, we will start the process that day to get you started with a new pair! You take care of your teeth by visiting your dentist regularly, and your feet are just as important - they keep you moving! So we recommend this annual re-evaluation appointment just to make sure all is well with your feet and custom orthotics!

Have more questions about Custom Orthotics? We are here to help!

If you aren't sure if Custom Orthotics are right for you or not, give us a call at 630-834-3668 and we can answer your questions or make a consultation appointment! You can also click on the images below which will take you to much more information about Custom Orthotics.


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Dr. Misty McNeill
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D.P.M. - Founder of Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic