Beware the Orthotics Trap: How Unlicensed Providers Put Diabetic Feet at Risk

A recent encounter with a diabetic patient has highlighted the importance of proper medical training and licensing when it comes to prescribing and providing orthotics. The patient’s experience serves as a cautionary tale for both diabetic individuals and the general public, emphasizing the need for seeking professional advice and care when considering orthotic solutions.

The Good Feet Store Experience

The patient in question decided to visit the “Good Feet Store” after watching a commercial that claimed he needed orthotics to strengthen the muscles in his legs. Upon visiting the store, he underwent an exam and was sold a pair of orthotics for $1300.00. However, these were not custom-made orthotics; they were over-the-counter orthotics that happened to fit him best from the store’s supply.

The Importance of Medical Licensing and Training

There are several issues with this patient’s experience that warrant discussion. First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that prescribing a useful pair of orthotics requires a medical license and proper medical training. An examination, diagnosis, and sometimes even imaging and consultation with other specialists may be necessary. Salespeople at stores like the “Good Feet Store” lack the qualifications to perform these tasks, making it inappropriate for them to provide such services.

The Risks for Diabetic Patients

For patients with diabetes, the potential consequences of improperly fitted orthotics can be severe. Diabetic individuals often suffer from neuropathy, a condition that can result in a loss of sensation in the feet. As a result, poorly fitted orthotics may cause pressure points, blisters, or ulcers, leading to complications that can be difficult to treat and may even result in amputation.

The story of this diabetic patient serves as an important reminder for everyone to seek professional advice and care when considering orthotic solutions. Untrained salespeople may lack the knowledge and qualifications to prescribe appropriate orthotics, potentially leading to severe consequences and complications for patients with diabetes or other medical conditions. Always consult with a licensed healthcare professional before investing in any orthotic devices, and prioritize your health and well-being above all else.