Why are Custom Orthotics So Expensive?
Custom orthotics is growing much in popularity these days, and you might already know what they are, who needs them, and how they are manufactured. However, it is a shocking thing that many people think custom orthotics to be overpriced. Below is a quick look at the details of the costs of prescription insole and custom orthotics to make things a bit clear.
Custom Orthotics are Expensive
As per the experts, prescription insoles can range from 200 to 800 dollars, and oftentimes, insurance might not cover these prescription devices. Most of the orthotic insoles can last for years. However, the top surface might wear out sometimes, and may have to be replaced, which might again cost from 50 to 100 dollars. The plastic or the firm EVA material can give way with constant use and this is an indicator that it is time to get your new pair of orthotics.
As per the manufacturers, the actual production cost to make a custom orthotics falls in the range of 100 dollars. You might be thinking what makes the price tag of these inserts really hefty then. You may even doubt if these inserts are worth the money. The pricing details of custom orthotics given below might be able to answer such concerns.
- Examination: You need to understand that the podiatrist will be doing a thorough analysis of the way of walking, lower extremities, and lifestyle of the person. The analysis will include treadmill tests, X-rays, gait analysis, and many more.
- Casting: The podiatrist will take a non-weight-bearing cast of the feet of the person to have precise measurements while making the orthotic insert.
- Mark Up: They will also mark up the feet of the person to monitor the changes to the feet after using the orthotics.
All of these things factor in while determining the price of custom orthotic insoles.
Dr. Robert Eckles, who is a podiatrist in Manhattan, says, “It’s hard to see the value in the plastic.” However, he reminds that we are “paying for a comprehensive diagnosis of present and future problems” and not just the orthotics itself.
You can ask your own podiatrist to break down the cost of the custom orthotics as well in order to help you understand the exact cost of each of the elements. You need to be wary if the podiatrist is not examining your feet or not taking a cast of it, but the price of the orthotic insole is still very high.
Are Custom Orthotics Worth the Money?
Many podiatrists promote the need to use custom orthotics to treat many problems. However, a few doctors in the field of sports medicine are not convinced that these inserts are not worth the cost. Dr. William O. Roberts, who is a sports medicine physician in New York, says that, “If your main business is feet, and part of your income is prescribing orthotics, then you might prescribe them 90, 100 percent of the time. It’s a financial issue, and I don’t think there’s a huge need for custom orthotics.”
Some of the orthopedic surgeons also agree with the line of thought about the custom insoles. Dr. John G. Kennedy, who is an orthopedic surgeon in Manhattan, says that, “There is a big problem with orthotics out there and people are not aware of it. The number of orthotics that I see prescribed in this city is far greater than is warranted by the number of pathological reasons.”
The difference in training of podiatrists (Doctors of Podiatric Medicine, DPM) and medical doctors (MD) is a big factor playing a vital role in the difference in opinion. Physicians attend medical school for four years and they learn many concepts before their 3 years of specialized residency. On the other hand, podiatrists go to 4 years school where they specifically learn about ankle and foot before doing a year of podiatric residency. Their learning can make them real experts of foot and ankle related things. However, they might miss some other important structural issues that an orthopedic or sports medicine physician will consider. A good podiatrist will take into account the complete details before prescribing any orthotic inserts.
There are no researches to prove that the custom orthotics or prescription insoles are effective than the over-the-counter insoles. If you are not so particular about the insole, you can go for a semi custom orthotic insert as well. They are also made with the same grade materials as the custom orthotics and provide the same level of support and comfort to the wearer. However, if your podiatrist is very particular about the dimensions of the orthotic insert, then you must go for the custom ones.
Some of the orthotic insert providers also offer return policies. If you are not satisfied with the product that you received, you can opt for exchange or refund, which can take away the tension from ordering orthotics online.