What’s The Alternative To Orthotics?

June 14, 2023

Had a previous experience with orthotics where they weren’t that comfortable, didn’t fit your shoes well, or didn’t do what they were meant to? If you’ve been recommended foot orthotics but are hesitant to try them out for whatever reason, you may be wondering if there are any alternative treatments available. The answer to this question is that there are alternative treatment pathways for foot pain and injury (and other issues) that don’t involve orthotics, but they may not produce the same results. Something that is definitely not an alternative to orthotics is the generic footbeds or insoles found at pharmacies or supermarkets, which in the eyes of podiatrists do close to nothing aside from add cushioning 95% of the time.  

Why Can’t Anything Else Act In The Same Way As An Orthotic?

Simply put, when you position your foot over a custom foot orthotic, it starts sitting and functioning differently than it had seconds earlier – much like when you put in a hearing aid or put on a new pair of prescription glasses. And there are almost no treatment routes that can deliver the same results in the same instant timeframe – without you having to do months of rehab, exercises, undergo specialised treatments, or in the most extreme case, have surgery with its weeks or months of downtime and recovery (and no ‘guaranteed’ results, if we’re being honest).  

What About Footbeds And Insoles?

Foot orthotics are highly specialised medical devices that are prescribed by a qualified podiatrist after a comprehensive assessment of your feet, legs, clinical testing, diagnosis, and consideration of various lifestyle factors. They’re customised for each individual’s unique foot structure, much like prescription glasses are tailored to individuals eyesight requirements.  On the other hand, footbeds or insoles – which are most commonly viewed as the orthotic ‘alternative’ – are generic shoe liners that assume a lot about your feet and don’t have the skill, experience, modifications and technology to provide long-term changes to your foot health and injury risk. At best, they may offer temporary comfort (much like how sticking any foot cushion in your shoe might), but they don’t address the root cause of your foot problem. Hence, their minuscule price tag for a very ‘disposable’ item.  

Legitimate Alternatives To Orthotics

With all this said, alternative treatments to orthotics do exist in terms of fixing your foot pain or problems without involving orthotics in your treatment, and it’s important to know that you have options. Here at Perform Podiatry, we offer a range of treatments for certain conditions and injuries – you can explore our range here. We take the time to explain each treatment and its expected outcomes to help you make an informed decision. We may need to take more aggressive approaches to certain treatments – like temporary offloading for a few weeks with a moon boot or walker (in severe cases), but will always work with you to ensure you’re happy with your course of treatment and if that means you don’t want to try orthotics in the instances that they’re clinically indicated, then we’ll always honour and respect that, and make a treatment plan accordingly.  

Are Your Orthotics Different?

Compared to footbeds, insoles and even other prescription orthotics from other clinics? Honestly – yes. The thing with orthotics is that part of their performance and efficacy is dependent upon the experience, precision and knowledge of both the practitioner prescribing them and how they’re manufactured. And with our orthotics, we’re incredibly proud to have leading orthotist and former lecturer in orthotic prescription and creation, Martin Kane, create these by hand for us – meaning you get extreme care and skill with every pair. You can learn more about our orthotics here, or click here to book an appointment with one of our Auckland podiatrists at our clinic on Remuera Road.