When Should NON-Custom Orthotics Cost $400?
I had one such patient see me in the office recently. He had been suffering from arch pain that was hurting constantly and it was effecting his entire work day and, most importantly, his ability to play with his young children. Although he planned on scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist, he passed a store called Ideal Feet and thought he'd stop in. He admitted to me on his first visit to our office that it was a big mistake.
During his visit to the retail store, he was evaluated by a salesman who told him he was suffering from plantar fasciitis, a common cause of heel and arch pain, and would benefit from orthotics. He then took an ink imprint of his foot to shoe how his arch drops. He was presented with a pair of hard-rubber insoles, or non-custom orthotics, and told to wear them and his heel pain would resolve. The price tag: about $400. About what a pair of custom orthotics would cost, if insurance doesn't cover them.
There is a time and a place for an off the shelf insole. There are several brands that offer good support, such as Powerstep, Spenco, and Superfeet. In fact, we have Powersteps available in our office. Such an insole should only be an investment of $30 to $60! No insole that is not custom-made should cost more.
After trying a few different pair of insoles from Ideal Feet, the staff determined that they didn't have the right solution for him and, to their credit, offered him store credit. Since the store carries excellent shoes, his money will not be wasted. I give them credit for that since there are similar stores that have an absolute no-return policy. Since that time he has received a comprehensive biomechanical examination in our office, custom orthotics, and appropriate treatment for his heel and arch pain and is well on the road to recovery.