How are Custom Foot Orthotics (CFOs) different from orthotics purchased Over-The-Counter (OTC)?
CFOs can only be considered custom if your feet were physically casted with plaster, inserted into a foam box, or scanned electronically. CFOs are also known as functional foot orthotics because they aim to improve and correct your unique biomechanics during walking or running. This is accomplished with a rigid plastic polymer or graphite device. They can also be calibrated to your weight and shoe size.
Conversely, OTC orthotics are pre-made devices made with material varying from plastic to cork to foam and designed to be accommodating – minimizing changes to your foot function while providing comfort and protection. They can be a worthwhile, inexpensive investment for those needing less correction.
While CFOs are well known to help pronators with flat feet in need of greater arch support, they have also been proven to treat heel and forefoot pain of various causes. By distributing pressure more evenly through the bottom of your foot they can also decrease the likelihood of calluses, nerve pain, and diabetic foot ulcers. Numerous modifications of different materials can also be added to different areas of CFOs to treat corresponding foot ailments.