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A Podiatrist’s view of the Good Feet Store

Dr. Benjamin Saviet explains how a trip to a Podiatrist is different than going to The Good Feet Store

A Podiatrist’s view of the Good Feet Store

 

We have a new neighbor on Rt. 9 in Shrewsbury that I can't ignore. The Good Feet Store is now in Central Massachusetts and that’s concerning to me as a medical provider for many reasons.

They are welcome in our community and we wish them the best of luck, but we thought it’s important that our other neighbors, friends and patients understand what they do and how a trip to a quality podiatrist is different in myriad ways.

 

No medical training

While they are lovely people, as “Arch Support Specialists” they are not required to have any medical training. Still, they guide you on what arch support is “best for you”. In their fine print it is clear that they are not providing medical advice or treating any disease/condition.

If you are looking for diagnosis and treatment of an illness,  doctors of podiatric medicine have a MINIMUM of 4 years of undergrad education, 4 years of specific medical education and current podiatry graduates have at least 3 years of residency. 

 

Personally fit vs. Custom fit

Our new neighbor offers “Personally fit arch supports”.  In many ways, it is like going to a suit store where they have a variety of suits on the rack from which to choose. That is not a custom fit. What they are offering are effectively over-the- counter shoe inserts. 

Most podiatry offices offer “custom fit” orthotic devices made from a mold or digital scan of your feet. This is like going to a tailor who will custom make a suit based on your exact body geometry, out of the best material for you and your activity needs. 

Just because you can get it that day, it does not mean this is the best thing for you, your feet and your medical condition. Our orthotics can take from 2-4 weeks to be ready. We frequently make our custom orthotics out of carbon fiber and that manufacturing process takes time.  But, like the suit store analogy, just because you can wear it out of the store it doesn't mean it is the best thing you could get.

 

Questionable value

Our neighbor can be private about the cost of their pre-made, non-custom orthotics. Their website won't detail the cost. It is not widely discussed information. You have to go in to be fit before you can find out. In an age of informed consumers, this should be a red flag.

If a patient wants to know how much our orthotics cost, they can call the office and ask. There are times that these will cost more or less than that typical number, based on the medical issues being treated. 

I have routinely had patients that have paid $800 for a single pair of the prefabricated plastic inserts from our neighbors. One couple spent a combined $2,000!

As patients, individuals should seek medical attention from qualified medical providers. As customers, seek the highest quality product for the least cost. 

High quality alternatives

We will frequently recommend over the counter shoe inserts that may help. A good pair of insoles from a company like SuperFeet, Powerstep or Spenco cost about $50.

Additionally, we recommend that patients go to a shoe store and try some shoes that they may have never tried before. Those shoes may cost $120 but that certainly isn't $800. A person could buy 6 pairs of shoes and a high quality over the counter insert before even getting close to the cost of the off the shelf inserts from our neighbor. Know what you are buying. 

Understandably, patients turn to alternatives from the medical establishment because they may be frustrated with previous doctors who may not listen. Don't fall for the sales trap of a sales person spending lots of time. Afterall, time does not equate to knowledge or ability. Please know that these are my own opinions and views. 

 

Dr. Benjamin Saviet is a Podiatrist at Central Massachusetts Podiatry, in Worcester and Westborough. He is a board certified rearfoot and ankle surgeon, runner and triathlete. As a former Division 1 runner, he understands how important activities are to his patients. His most important goal when treating all patients is to get them back the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible.

 
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Dr. Benjamin Saviet

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