Where did you get your orthotics? (Read 621 times)

    For anyone who wears custom orthotics for running, did you get them at a specialized orthotics maker, at a podiatrist/orthopedist, or through mail-order? My orthopedist thinks custom orthotics may help me out. He gave me the names of a customized place (they do gait analysis and foot scan, cost between $350-500 and have to wait 3 weeks for an appt), and a podiatrist (can get an appt next week, but no idea of a cost range). He also mentioned doing it by mail order where they send you a foam box and you make a mold of your foot and send it back and you get the orthotics in 3 weeks (cost $99). My insurance won't cover any of any of them. I know on the other orthotics thread, someone said to steer away from the mail order business, but my doctor seemed to think that they wouldn't be that different. I'd obviously prefer a cheap option, but I don't want to spend money on something that isn't right, I have already dropped almost $500 with doctors visits, medicines and PT trying to get this injury healed... I just want to run again!!! So, has anyone done the mail-order kind? If not, where did you get your custom orthotics fitted and made?
    Mile Collector

    Abs of Flabs

      I'll take a crack at this since no one else has. I am using my second set of orthotics. I'm not sure if you know, orthotics come in different flavors. The most obvious one is the over the counter ones. I have no idea how much they cost, but would imagine them to be less than $50 a pair. I had a pair of these many years ago but they didn't seem to do much other than preventing my feet from slipping inside the shoes. 4 years ago I went to a podiatrist because of ankle and feet pains. He prescribed a pair of custom orthotics for me. He used an electronic pressure pad to measure the force distribution of my feet as I walked across it. The theory is that by analyzing this, they can make an orthotic that correct for the pronation. That cost me $180. It was made of some kind of white plastic and much of my pains went away after a month of wearing them. 1.5 years ago, my feet started hurting again. It was unfortunate because that was probably my best running year to date. My original podiatrist relocated so I went to seek out a different one. Although the pain wasn't typical of plantar fasciitis, he still diagnosed it as such. He recommended a new of new orthotics because by then, I had already put in 4000+ miles on the original pair. He said custom orthotics come in two varieties: plastic and fiberglass. The plastic kind is half the cost of fiberglass. The fiberglass kind typically costs around $400. The price difference is reflected in performance. The plastic kind will gradually lose its support with no obvious sign of wear. That was why my feet were hurting real bad because they weren't getting the correct support anymore. The fiberglass will continue to give the proper support until it breaks. He made a mold of my feet using plaster, the traditional method of creating orthotics. My first impression was they were much lighter than the plastic pair I had. The second impression was that it has less support in the arch area (the old pair was slightly higher and that made my arches happier). Both pairs are 3/4 length instead of the full length, by the way. I had to return the new pair for an adjustment a month later because they were a little too long so on the push off, the balls of my feet dug into them and my feet became sore. When they came back from the shop, they were 1 cm shorter. They also added foam padding underneath the arches to give better support from all the pounding I'll be doing. It took a little while to get accustomed to the new pair but I haven't had any feet problems after that. I swear by orthotics. Anything that helps me run injury free is ok in my books. I don't think there's much of a difference where you get them if they create a mold of your feet. I've seen mail order services at marathon expos that would use the pressure pad to create the mold, but I can't attest to their reliability. I highly recommend getting the fiberglass kind instead of the plastic simply because they will consistently give you the correct support every step. The key phrase is "correct support". The plastic kind will give you the correct support in the beginning, but not after thousands of miles. If the mail order service charges you $100, I suspect they use plastic. You should definitely give it a try to see if orthotics will help you. If it does, then I'm sure you'll gladly fork over $400 for a quality pair because it's worth it. I'm not sure what the instructions will say regarding the self made molds. In case they're not clear, you should get someone else to help you make it. Lie on your stomach on your bed such that your feet dangle off the edge, with the toes pointing toward the floor. Make sure you feet are completely relaxed. This puts your feet in their natural shape. Have someone create the mold for you as you lie relaxed. This is kind of wordy, but I thought I give you my complete experience with orthotics. They changed how I run, and hopefully they'll help you too. Good luck!
        Thank you so much Eric! Right now I'm using a pair I got at the running store for $35. They haven't done much to help me as it seems like most of the support is in the heel and arch, and nothing in the forefoot where all my pain is. I called again today and got an earlier appt. for next week. The place does computerized gait analysis, the pressure foot pad, and the foot scan, so I'd rather spend more money and get it right the first time. I really appreciate your input... I will make sure they are fiberglass!

        Now that was a bath...

          Sorry Shaunna - no great advice to offer. I was responding to you 'on the bench' and my suggestion was to ask here, but I see you already have. Wishing you luck girl. I hope that you find your answer and can get back to normality again. Claire xxx
        • jlynnbob "HTFU, Kookie's distal tibia"
        • Where's my closet? I need to get back in it.

            I would stay away from mail order for sure. I got mine from a store in Winter Park, Colorado. (doesn't help you any) They spent about 30 minutes molding them to my foot and making sure they were perfect. $150 for the pair but so far well worth it. I would look for a place that will spend time listening to what you do every day and will give you some kind of assurance that you will be satisfied with their product. Beware of a one-size-fits-all or a quick fix. The other thing to remember, you get what you pay for. Hope this helps. DB

            Tougher than most, dumber than the rest. "You can not count the miles until you feel them" TVZ