What are orthotic inserts?
Orthotics are special inserts that go into your shoe to correct structural foot problems such as flat arches and foot and leg pain. Custom orthotics are also specifically made to fit the unique shape of your feet to provide cushioning, comfort, and support. The most common types of shoe inserts are:
- Arch supports – designed to support the foot’s natural arch.
- Insoles – made of gel, foam, or plastic and slid inside the shoe to provide extra cushioning and support.
- Heel liners/heel cups – provide extra cushioning in the heel region.
What are prescription custom orthotics?
Over-the-counter orthotics are generally a one-size-fits-all product. Custom prescription orthotics are specially created to the unique structure of your feet. They are designed to match the precise way that you move, cushioning, and supporting with each step. Orthotics are made after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs so that the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.
Prescription orthotics are divided into two categories:
- Functional – These are created of a semi-rigid material like plastic or graphite. Functional orthotics are designed to control foot pain caused by abnormal motion. They can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis.
- Accommodative – this orthotic is softer and designed to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other conditions that cause discomfort like plantar fasciitis.
Why should I see a podiatrist for orthotics?
Podiatrists use orthotics to treat a variety of foot problems. They examine your feet and the way you walk to evaluate how you stand and move. This helps the podiatrist design custom inserts that meet your specific needs. Podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function. The Doctors at East Texas Foot Associates offers custom-made orthotics to help treat foot conditions for both children and adults.
The information contained in this article is not intended to provide advice for individual problems, nor to substitute for professional advice or care from a physician. For answers to specific questions concerning your personal circumstances, you should consult your physician directly.