Orthotics is a fancy word for what most people call arch supports.  They come in many forms and start with the simple Dr. Scholls cheap supports in Walmart and progress to the custom devices that can range from a hundred dollars to many hundreds of dollars. 

Choosing the Best Orthotic

Well for the average folk with mild to no pain, start with an over the counter device available in the community.  Devices found in shoe stores are usually a little more supportive and will last a little longer than the Walmart “special.”  If you have been having lots of ongoing problems you may need to see a podiatrist and find out if there is something treatable.  If they recommend an orthotic then you probably need to start with an over the counter device that is more supportive than ones found in stores. 

Orthotics at New Mexico Foot & Ankle Institute

New Mexico Foot &  Picture of foot in orthotics | Albuquerque Experienced Orthotic SpecialistAnkle Institute carries a device made by a company that deals only with custom orthotics made by prescription only.  They have a solid device that will last for years and give almost as much support as a custom device can.  These devices range from $40-$50.  Never spend more than that on a device that comes premade.  I have tried many of these devices sold in the community and have never seen a device worth more than $100.  They may say it is custom but if they bring it to you in less than a week it is not custom.  They will have many shapes and forms and they may even have you do somersaults with them on in the store while walking blindfolded but they are not worth a dime over $100.  

When to See a Podiatrist

Make an appointment to see a podiatrist who can guide you into a device that will be appropriate to your problem.  Anyone else who diagnoses your problem including neighbors and relatives most likely did not get their degree from a reputable medical school.   If you have a complex issue you may need a more expensive orthotic.  These devices are called custom orthotics and are made by prescription by your podiatrist.  Our next blog will go into detail on “Why Not All Custom Orthotics Are the Same” and what to look for when purchasing.

Nathan Ivey
Experienced Albuquerque podiatrist specializing in preventing and treating foot and ankle pain.