Orthotics to help with osteoarthritis

I’ll just buy some squishy orthotics

We hear often at PTI Orthotics in Boulder and Longmont that those squishy orthotics at a big box store will work just fine. There’s a very common misconception that if your feet hurt, you can just buy off-the-shelf shoe inserts at your local big box store.

However, when comparing store-bought and custom orthotics, there’s not much of a comparison.

While the features offered by cheap inserts can help relieve general pain from standing on your feet all day, a custom orthotic might be recommended by your doctor or health care professional to go beyond the symptoms and treat the underlying issues causing you pain in the first place.

Let’s take a closer look at those drug store shoe inserts versus custom orthotics.


Custom orthotics are fit for you only. They are designed and manufactured specifically with your feet and health in mind. This is why a clinical assessment and consultations are necessary.

custom orthotic is generally made from a direct cast or digital scan of your foot. This is one of the reasons these devices are generally the best ones for your feet. They are designed to meet your specific needs. Your podiatrist can help you determine the best type of orthotics for you, given your age, footwear, foot type, and the problems that you are experiencing.

There are some situations where an off-the-shelf orthotic may work. For example, if your foot issues are going to be remedied quickly, then an off-the-shelf orthotic might suffice.


Orthotics offer so much more than simple arch support which is typically all you’ll get from off-the-shelf shoe inserts. In fact, your footprint is only one part of the story.

Orthotic devices should align your feet, balancing both the forefoot and rear foot. Proper alignment and support will then allow optimal foot function as you move through your day.

If you purchase an off-the-shelf orthotic, there is little chance that your feet will be getting the balance and support they need to really work properly.


Custom orthotics can last 5-10 years, depending on the type of materials involved and the patient. A set of orthotics purchased at the grocery store is generally going to wear out much more quickly.

If you need custom orthotics that will provide high quality and durability while improving your condition, contact us here at PTI Orthotics for an appointment. Serving the Boulder and Longmont areas, we will use the latest technologies and methods to provide custom orthotics for a wide variety of conditions.


When comparing off-the-shelf shoe inserts and custom orthotics, there are a number of conditions that going custom can specifically remedy. They can help patients with conditions such as:

  • Plantar fasciitis: Custom orthotics can help with pain in the heel and along the arches of the feet.
  • Flat feet: Can improve the position of the legs and feet.
  • Bunions: Will help to reduce pain and slows the progression of bunions.
  • Arthritis: Custom orthotics can help reduce pain and assist with prevention of joint degeneration.
  • Knee and hip pain: If the knee and hip pain are caused by poor foot alignment, custom orthotics will help reduce knee and hip pains.

These are just a few of the many conditions that custom foot orthotics can help treat. When comparing shoe inserts and custom orthotics, it’s easy to see how a more advanced and customizable option can provide you with more benefits.

If you are experiencing issues with your feet and think you might need custom orthotics, contact your doctor or podiatrist. Then come see us here at PTI Orthotics for consultation when you’re ready.

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