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Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute
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What is the difference between custom, semi-custom and drugstore orthotics?

We offer two types of orthotics in our office. Custom orthotics, and Quadrasteps semi-custom orthotics. These shoe inserts change the way you walk, stand, and distribute weight through your entire body. They have a many things in common, but they also have a few key differences. Sometimes patients ask a follow up question, which is, "are Quadrasteps any better than drugstore shoe inserts?"  In a word, YES. The chart below shows the differences between these three types of shoe inserts. 

 

  Custom Orthotics Quadrasteps

Drugstore Shoe Inserts

Gives support to specific areas that your foot needs Exact support based on your exact way each of your feet are individually shaped. Specialized support based on the way your feet are shaped

Minimal support, mostly cushion

 

Feels soft to the touch by giving your feet cushion

 

More support than cushion More support than cushion Primarily cushion.

Relieves stress points on feet

 

Yes,with exactness Relieves stress points caused by foot shape No

Fixes alignment in feet and body

 

Yes Yes No

Improves gait and body pains

 

Yes Yes

No

Recommended and evaluated by a doctor

 

Yes Yes No
Inexpensive Usually, depending on insurance Very affordable Cheap

 

As you can see, custom orthotics are highly advantageous, followed by semi-custom orthotics. Unfortunately, drugstore orthotics do not offer many advantages at all. Their cheap cost and cushy feel convince many customers to buy, but they do not function as an orthotic should, and are essentially a waste of money. They do not change the way the foot is aligned or striking the ground. Custom orthotics are obviously the best choice, but if a patient is uninsured or under-insured, semi-custom Quadrastep orthotics offer most of the benefits at a more affordable cost. Call our office for help deciding which is the best route for you. 

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute