• Dr. Gary D. Prant, DPM

Everybody sells orthotics - but few adjust them!

Forgive me if I’m a little perturbed. Several times a week people come into my office complaining about either a custom orthotics or an over-the-counter shoe insert. Usually the story goes that they spent a considerable amount of money on a device that was supposed to solve all their problems but didn’t solve anything and then some cases made their feet feel worse!

Sometimes- certainly not always-- the person that sold them the shoe insert will refund their money however often there are “fees” so they don’t get their full refund back. There are rarely if ever any other options offered.

I have been making both custom orthotics and over-the-counter shoe inserts for over 30 years. And even with a podiatry degree and all this experience I still don’t always get it right with an orthotic or shoe insert the first time.

You see making orthotics or shoe inserts is something of an art. We can determine how much correction someone needs however the question is how much correction can they tolerate? By watching someone’s gait, determining the flexibility of their joints and considering their body weight and type of shoes they wear I can make a very educated and usually correct determination as to how much correction I can build in an orthotic to accomplish its task and be comfortable for the person using the device.

But---one of the most important things though is that I can always adjust the orthotic! Whether the adjustment is needed at first or even after six months or a year -- if there is a change in the person’s foot a simple tuneup of an orthotic can make it work great again. In my office I have heating devices, grinding devices, and a whole little mini lab which I use to make orthotic adjustments.

One thing we do not do as a rule however is to make adjustments on orthotics which we did not originally make. The reason for this is because they are usually made out of materials we are unfamiliar with and we do not know how they will respond when we heat them or grind them. If for some reason the orthotics are damaged while doing the adjustment we have no recourse with the manufacturer.

We pride ourselves on offering a wide choice of both over-the-counter and custom orthotics. We customize our over-the-counter orthotics with both heat and grinding as needed to customize the device for a particular patient’s problems. We also offer a 100% money back warranty on custom orthotics. If custom orthotics do not work after having been adjusted we will provide a full refund.

So many custom-made devices from braces on teeth to eyeglasses for eyes, need to be adjusted. I never understood why custom foot orthotics or even over-the-counter shoe inserts should be any different.

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