How Affordable Are Orthotics?
Ignoring the fact stores have already been stocking up on Christmas decorations, Halloween is almost upon us. No matter if you celebrate the holiday or not, you know this is the time of year for haunted houses and scary movies.
The roots of Halloween are connected, in part, to rituals to keep evil spirits away. In order to appease these spirits, people would leave out food and beverages. Some people realized they could dress up like demons or ghosts and get free treats from it.
Knowing just that little bit of history about the holiday makes it easy to understand where the traditions of wearing costumes and going trick-or-treating originated.
Now, there will be some downright scary-looking costumes going through the neighborhoods (along with a lot more not-scary ones), but something that doesn’t have to be frightening is the cost of custom orthotics.
Much like ghost stories and urban legends, there’s a false myth that orthotics are very expensive and don’t last for long periods of time. Let’s take a look at the whole story, though, so you can see how orthotics are actually quite affordable.
Just to get it out of the way – yes, insoles purchased in a retail store cost less upfront than a pair of custom orthotics. You can certainly walk into a national pharmacy chain or the health and beauty section of a retail store, grab some shoe inserts off the shelf, and then walk out paying less than you would for orthotics. Looking at the big picture, this can be a big mistake!
Sure, those shoe inserts may be able to provide extra cushioning or arch support, but they are not intended to actually correct a medical issue. Essentially, they’re just a better insole. They can cushion your feet, provide comfort, and support arches – all on a “light duty” basis.
What that means is you might think you’re fixing the problem, but the real issue is being neglected altogether. That’s concerning because many foot and ankle problems worsen over time when they aren’t treated correctly.
The orthotics we prescribe, on the other hand, are actual medical devices intended to resolve the root cause of your foot pain, discomfort, and dysfunction.
Keep in mind, a key reason orthotics cost more upfront is that they are customized to work with your unique foot structure and gait pattern. You cannot get this level of customization—done by a trained, skilled medical professional, no less—from a mass-produced product. Period.
What this means to you is that you find relief from painful symptoms because the root cause is being addressed. This can save you from needing very expensive procedures later down the road.
Regarding any fallacies about the durability of orthotics, you should know that prescription orthotics are made from quality materials and can last many years when cared for properly, and they don’t even require a lot of care!
A pair of orthotics are durable and will last much longer than disposable, store-bought inserts. Buying those inserts can be like throwing your money down the drain, and especially if you have to keep buying pair after pair after pair!
Something that helps make prescription orthotics affordable is insurance. Now, different plans and insurers have different policies regarding coverage for orthotic devices. If you aren’t sure whether or not your plan will cover a pair, simply contact our office. We will find this out for you and then let you know what you can expect.
Speaking of insurance, if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you will lose any money in the account you haven’t used at the end of the year. If you have a balance in your FSA and are experiencing a foot or ankle problem that can be resolved with orthotics, this is a great way to use those funds. Further, if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA)—where you don’t lose money after the year is over—orthotics are approved medical expenses. You can use HSA money to pay for your orthotics.
If your insurance doesn’t cover orthotics and you don’t have either an FSA or HSA, you can still make your orthotics more easily affordable by using CareCredit. With this program, CareCredit pays for medical services or products (including even veterinary expenses!) upfront, and then you can make monthly payments – same as you would with your normal credit cards.
Keeping the big picture in mind, quality orthotics are affordable. What can be less affordable is trying to use an off-the-shelf insert that’s not intended to treat the problem you’re experiencing.
Ultimately, the choice will be yours, but you need to know there are options that make orthotics more affordable than you probably think they could be!
For more information on custom orthotics, to learn about the comprehensive foot care services we offer, or to request an appointment, call Wisconsin Foot Center today at (414) 425-8400. If you prefer, take advantage of our contact form here on our website. It only takes a minute, so fill it out and connect with us right now!
"Feel Good Feet: A User's Guide to Foot & Ankle Health"