At Arches Footcare, we make you one of a kind, custom-made foot orthoses, individual just like your feet! They take time to make, and cost more than the off the shelf type, but they are designed and then manufactured uniquely for YOUR foot and to alleviate your unique foot issues. Ours are so unique to your feet that the left and right orthosis are even different from each other! We use brand new technology from Germany, and combine multi-density materials all shaped and created to support and cushion your aching feet.
Three steps to custom-made orthoses:
1. See a Physician/Podiatrist if you have medical issues. The physician/Podiatrist will give you a diagnosis and a prescription. Make an appointment with our Certified Pedorthist. This first appointment is your assessment and takes 30 minutes to one hour (more on that below). This appointment costs $30. If you do not have a prescription we may be able to request one for you. A down-payment of $85 is required for us to begin creating your custom orthoses.
2. In 2-4 weeks we will call you for your dispense appointment. This appointment is no charge and takes 15-30 minutes. We will be putting the finishing touches on your custom orthoses and making sure they fit in your shoes. The remaining amount for your custom made orthotics is due at this time: $400 You may use an FSA or health savings account for custom orthoses purchases and down payments.
3. It can take up to 30 days to get used to your new custom-made orthoses. If you require a follow up give us a call and we will gladly make one follow-up appointment with our Pedorthist at no additional charge, and that includes any modifications he makes after re-evaluating your situation. Any changes are made the same day, right here in our lab!
Have more questions? If you’ve been prescribed orthoses the information below will help guide you through your purchase. It’s important to ask questions and keep yourself informed throughout the process, to ensure you get a suitable custom-made orthoses. (Check below for "Buyer Beware" tips)
Who’s authorized to make, fit and dispense custom orthotics?
In Texas as in many other States, custom-made orthoses require by law a prescription/written order by specific healthcare professionals, which include physicians, podiatrists and nurse practitioners. They will diagnose whether or not an orthoses would be beneficial to your situation.
Many suppliers offer "off the shelf" arch supports, but Podiatrists, Certified Pedorthists and Licensed Orthotists are recognized as allied healthcare specialists. These professionals are trained specifically to assess, design, fabricate and fit custom foot orthotics.
The prescribing Physician or providers listed above are licensed and governed by either a provincial or national body, and are subject to standards of practice and continuing education. This, along with each body’s Code of Ethics, helps ensure their accountability and you protection.
At Arches Footcare you will be seen by our Board Certified Pedorthist for custom-made orthoses for all appointments pertaining to your custom orthotics.
What to expect for your assessment
A provider should guide you through an extensive evaluation to ensure an orthoses is the best option and that it's properly designed. You should expect the orthoses provider to perform the following:
Medical History Review: Documentation of your medical history pertaining to your feet, symptoms and previous injuries. He or she will also take into consideration your lifestyle (occupation and activities) as well as your current footwear, your age and your weight.
Examination: a hands-on evaluation of the lower limbs including foot structure, alignment, strength, range of motions, soft-tissue damage as well as identifying any abnormalities.
Gait Analysis: The provider will observe you walking to identify accommodations or abnormalities.
Orthotic Evaluation: The provider will determine treatment options and explain how the treatments will address your specific needs.
Casting/Scan: Taking a mold ensures that your orthoses is made with all of the contours and structure of your foot. A proper cast/scan is essential to create an insert that corrects the issue. Casting techniques include: foam box castings, plaster of paris slipper casting, and laser scanning.
Having your footprint taken on an ink pad or using your shoe size to provide a prefabricated insole is not considered casting and does not qualify as custom-made.
You can expect approximately 2-4 weeks between your initial assessment and your fitting appointments.
Some providers/retail stores will supply what’s called a “best fit” foot bed. These are prefabricated inserts that are matched to your cast, however the cast is never used in the actual manufacturing of the orthotic. These are not considered custom-made. Arches does not use this method at any time for custom inserts.
Dispensing: Custom-made orthoses should be fitted specifically for you and your footwear. Custom inserts do not fit into every shoe, and depending on the insert, you may be limited in the type of shoe you can wear. A follow up appointment should be available at no charge.
Education: The provider should educate you on things like how to get accustomed to your new orthoses as well as how they should fit. You should be instructed to return if you experience any problems.
BUYER BEWARE! * The biggest scam is misleading patients and customers into thinking they have a custom-made product. Sometimes a sales person will say "custom fit", which is misleading and sounds similar to "custom made". If a sales person goes to the back and comes out with a product and says it is "custom" they are lying. Any arch support available for purchase off of a store shelf is NOT custom and if the price is more than $80 there is good chance you are about to pay way too much. We've had customers tell us they spent over $900 for items that are not custom-made. As we mentioned above, some places will use a foam-box, but only use that to match a pre-fabricated arch support to the size of your foot. Again, NOT custom-made.
* Check the internet for customer reviews. You can search "google reviews" or "Yelp reviews" and the business name to see what others have experienced at a specific business. The Better Business Bureau can also provide online reviews and information.
* Any business making custom orthotics is required by the state of Texas to obtain a prescription from a doctor. Custom orthotics take time to make. If a store says they are providing you with a "custom" orthotic, and brings you the item a few minutes later, that is not a custom product. Custom orthotics take time and are made by medical professionals, not sales people.
*A provider should have the capacity to modify your orthotic.
*Exercise caution when considering the purchase of orthotics from exhibits at trade shows or sportsman shows, or on a cruise. If there’s a problem with the orthotic, returning for help is not an option, not to mention they aren't custom-made. One of our customers was duped into buying an $800 arch support at a stock show. It was not custom-made and didn't work. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
*Exercise caution when considering a purchase from kiosks or booths in malls, departments stores or over the internet for the same reasons. It's a good idea to search the business's Google reviews, and the Yelp reviews to gain perspective on other customer's experiences.
*We have heard a lot of horror stories about online businesses duping customers. If you see it on Instagram or Facebook you must do your research to see if you can trust the company, and there are a lot of scams out there. Plus, if you have issues with the product there is no one local to visit with.
*Be wary of people who come to your home, or conduct group screenings of employees or family members without a proper evaluation.
*Two for the price of one” deal or “free giveaways” with your purchase are not allowed under the code of ethics that regulate providers and dispensers are bound by. Some providers will use these “freebies” to inflate the price of an arch support. Often these supports are also not custom-made, but mass produced.
*Be suspicious of any providers that can’t answer your questions clearly or gives vague and ambiguous answers.
*Question a provider who recommends your whole family could benefit from orthotics without having seen or assessed them individually.
*Custom-made orthotics for children under 5 are highly uncommon. Skeletal or soft tissue injuries that require orthotic treatment don’t usually present themselves until a person is older. If for some reason they do need an orthotic, a medical doctor or pediatric specialist must prescribe it.
*Many places have employees on commission and they won't get paid if you don't pay. Just say no and leave if you are in a situation where you feel pressed to make a purchase.
Custom orthotics run $400-$800 and are not always covered by insurance. So, why go through the hassle and expense of seeing a doctor to get custom orthotics made instead of picking some up at your local Target? For one thing, you could do more harm than good.