Should I see a podiatrist in the USA or Canada?
January 10, 2010 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Would it be better for me to see a foot specialist and (most likely) get custom orthodics in Canada or the U.S.A.?

I'm fairly certain that I need orthodics to deal with the pain I have in my feet, which is likely plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. I am a resident of Ontario, but OHIP (the public health insurance plan here) does not cover the cost of orthodics or podiatry to any reasonable extent. I have no private health insurance coverage, so I'll be paying for the cost of examination and treatment myself.

Using this fee schedule as a guide, I'm estimating that it will cost me about $700-800 for treatment here. I don't know if that's reasonable or not... but it's the best I could figure out.

I'll be spending a few weeks in SW Florida in March, so, theoretically, I could book an appointment down there instead of here. Does anyone know if it would be better and/or cheaper to do so?
posted by kaudio to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
The New York Times just had an article that included some discussion or treatments for plantar fasciitis (which I have as well, so I took note). (You have to read pretty far down the first page, past the stuff about physical therapy.)

Of note: custom orthotics didn't do any better than off-the-shelf orthotics.

"But the best treatment for plantar fasciitis, orthotic inserts for your shoes, is the only one with a body of consistent (though not definitive) research behind it, and it may not even require a physical therapist. It does not even require a doctor. And, the studies indicate, off-the-shelf orthotics are just as effective as custom-made ones." (emphasis mine)

This isn't an answer to your specific question, so I'm sorry I can't help with that.

Have you tried any other treatments? When I first self-diagnoses pf last year, I found some great suggestions here on Ask MeFi.

Good luck.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:44 AM on January 10, 2010

Have you tried a pedorthist? I'm not really sure what the difference is between a podiatrist and a pedorthist, but I went to a pedorthist (I'm in Ontario as well) and she customized a pair of SuperFeet insoles for me for no charge (covered by OHIP, presumably). I paid for the insoles myself, which were $50 at Running Room, and even after wearing them for a couple of days before she customized them, my feet were WORLDS better. Custom orthotics were an option she offered but I couldn't afford them.

So: following bluedaisy, try the off-the-shelf insoles (my pedorthist recommended the green SuperFeet; YMMV), and try a pedorthist first.
posted by pised at 10:52 AM on January 10, 2010

Best answer: I have custom orthotics for my running shoes. I got them from a podiatrist in Southern California and they cost 300 bucks. My insurance company didn't cover them, but they did arrange for me to get them at a discounted rate. I think the base rate is closer to $500 bucks.

As a plantar fasciitis sufferer, I can say that the orthodics help a bit. What really helps is daily work with the golf ball. It's not fun, but it does the job. If you haven't tried that, it's really worth the effort. *goes to get golf ball*
posted by 26.2 at 11:25 PM on January 10, 2010

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