Do I Require Orthotics For My Shoes?

Foot pain can put a damper on your entire day. Sometimes placing supportive shoe inserts in your shoes might help. However, if the problem is not that simple, you might need shoe orthotics instead.

You can easily find shoe inserts in the pharmacy or footwear section of a store. These do not require a prescription. These inserts are generally constructed from foam, gel, or plastic. You place them inside your shoes to provide extra support and cushioning for your feet. They come in general sizes, but they are not tailor-made for you. They make your walking more comfortable, but they are not intended to correct your foot problems.

Orthotics are not just shoe inserts. These are designed to correct your foot problems which can include the way you walk, run, or stand. They can correct “flat feet” so you won’t have to go through surgery. People who suffer from diabetes, arthritis, bursitis, or plantar fasciitis often suffer from foot pain, and orthotics can alleviate those aches as well.

If you have foot pain, you should consult with your podiatrist to diagnose the cause. Sometimes you might just need a simple shoe insert from a store to provide extra cushioning. Sometimes you might need orthotics. Your podiatrist can advise you on that. Don’t overlook getting Orthotic Slippers when you are walking around your home.

What Happens During A Podiatry Appointment

In order to fully evaluate the condition of your feet, your podiatrist will need to take a series of 3-dimensional images of your feet. He will evaluate the way you walk to see how your hips, legs, ankles, and feet move together.

If your podiatrist deems that you require orthotics, he will make a mold of your feet in order to get an exact replica of their shape. The mold will be used during the construction of the orthotics so they can be customized to the exact contours of your feet.

Various Types of Orthotics

There are two types of orthotics. One type is rigid, also known as functional orthotics. They are made from carbon fiber or plastic. These are appropriate for regular shoes with low heels and closed toes. They can relieve pain and strain in your feet. Foot problems often lead to aches in other parts of your body like your legs and your back. When orthotics correct the foot problem, you will get relief from these aches and pain as well.


The other type of orthotics is soft, or accommodative orthotics. They are constructed from thick material that can be compressed. This is often found in Orthotic slippers. They provide extra cushions for your feet to alleviate the pressure from sore areas. People who have diabetic foot ulcers or plantar fasciitis can benefit from soft orthotics. These might not fit inside regular shoes due to their thickness. In that case, your podiatrist might prescribe special footwear for you.

Orthotics can also be customized for specialty footwear like ice skates and ski boots.

Do you Need Inserts Or Orthotics?

Both shoe inserts and orthotics can alleviate discomfort, but only orthotics will correct the root of the foot problem. Because shoe inserts are not customized for your feet, they will not correct any problems. Inserts that are a poor fit will even make the problem worse.

Orthotics are medically prescribed to you by your podiatrist. They are customized and designed to correct your foot problem. When you get your orthotics, you will return to your podiatrist to get them fitted. If your orthotics do not fit well, tell your podiatrist right away. The orthotics are constructed from durable, high-quality material so you should be able to use them for a few years if you take good care of them. Because they are medically necessary, check with your medical insurer to see if they cover any part of the cost.