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sfgal's avatar

Should I get orthotics?

Asked by sfgal (277 points ) June 16th, 2007

I have very flat feet, and the podiatrist recommended that I get the expensive, custom-made orthotics. They cost 500 dollars and my insurance won't cover it. Plus the cost of buying new shoes, since i hear you need to wear a half-size larger if the orthotics are in. Worth it? I'm also concerned that you can get overly dependent ("addicted?") to wearing them. Thoughts?

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10 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Painful feet can ruin your waking hours. Try the gadgets in http://www.footsmart ( I use innersoles w. gel pads, for example, for plantar fascitis) first. The catalog sells a dozen inserts for flat feet. Maybe one of them would work.

You may have to get a shoe 1/2 size up and experiment. If you have a broken arm, you wear a cast. Is that "overly dependent"? There may be stretches you can do to raise arch, using your hands to pull your feet in various ways. Orthotics are, indeed, very costly, and have to be replaced regularly since they break down.

Tennis5tar's avatar

I had a very similar problem about 4 years ago. I wore custom-made insoles (covered by the NHS luckily) and they worked like a dream. I wore them for about a year, when I bought a new pair of trainers they didn't fit in. So I only wore them in my school shoes. This way, I wasn't using them all the time but my feet remained pain-free. I don't have a problem at all now.

lilakess's avatar

I wear custom made orthotics and I love them. I don't need to buy shoes a size bigger. I have one pair with an insole attached and I just take out the insole that comes with say sneakers, and I have a pair that I just put in other shoes. They don't work with sandals, so I can't wear them all the time, but they make everything comfortable, good for my back too. Totally worthwhile, and worth the money.

peggylou's avatar

I also have flat feet and bad knees. I had orthotics when I was little. But as I lost the cartilage in my knees, I had to go back to the orthotics to keep my knees in place. Like "lilakess", I have no problem wearing them. I get mine ordered by my chiropractor. They cost about $100.00, without insurance. I also simply remove the innersole from regular shoes (you have to make sure you buy shoes that have removable innersoles). I also wear them with sandals because I buy sandals that have removable innersoles. I haven't had to size up, however. I can go without them some days or go barefoot occasionally, but my legs start to ache, and my back and my hips and especially my knees, without them. They have been a godsend for me! I also have a pair of "partial" orthotics that I can transfer from shoe to shoe for dress shoes. They velcro in and out easily. The few times that my regular shoes get too small with the regular orthotics, I just use the partial

peggylou's avatar

ones and they leave more room in the shoe. And that is my volume on orthotics!

andrew's avatar

Do you have symptoms in other areas of your body (knee, lower-back pain)? It's true that your feet are the basis for the entire "use" of your body, but if you're not seeing other problems, I'd say don't worry about it -- chances are your use is good enough to compensate for your biological givens.

: begin dogma:
If you are having problems, you may want to consider some simple Alexander Technique to re-program your nervous system into using your body in an efficient and easy way -- the way in which we use our bodies can contribute as much or more to chronic pain as the way our bodies are made.
:end dogma:

zzztimbo's avatar

I have flat feet as well. At the time, I had Kaiser Permanente as my health care provider. They did not cover them either. However, they did not cost me $500. They were more like half that price. I would shop around if possible.

I haven't had to buy different sized shoes. My sneakers and running shoes have insoles that can be removed. The orthotics don't work so well with dress shoes.

Another annoyance is that I have is when I switch shoes, I have to look for my last pair that I wore, take the orthotics out and put them in the new shoes. If you think you would hate that routine, then you might have to buy two pairs of orthotics.

Pain-free walking and running is great. I would recommend getting them, but at a lower price.

itsnotmyfault1's avatar

what shoes are you wearing?
maybe you should just go to a specialty running store and get shoes for high stability shoes… (the Beast or Stabils are pretty common)
Do you know where a Running Company store is around you…. or Runner’s High?
New shoes will have fresh padding, and if you get the right kind of shoe, it’ll be built for feet like yours (flat), and that might solve your problem for $500 less.

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