What Types of Shoe Orthotics are Best for You?

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There are several types of orthotics for shoes, and it’s important to understand the differences and what each offers. Orthotics are used to lessen and prevent arch and heel pain. This pain can be due to flat feet, high arched feet, or plantar fasciitis. Foot pain can also be the result of how you walk or stand, leading to back pain as well.

Custom Orthotics

Custom orthotics are customized for your feet specifically. These provide the best fit and are effective at treating and preventing foot pain. A podiatrist creates a custom fit for the shape of your foot, using 3D imaging and evaluating your walk.

  1. Semi-rigid or Rigid Orthotics– These types of orthotics are also known as functional orthotics.
  • Made of a synthetic resin
  • Provides the maximum support
  • Highly durable and long-lasting
  • Used in work boots, dress shoes, or any other shoe with a more rigid construction
  1. Soft Orthotics– These types of orthotics are also referred to as accommodative orthotics.
  • Contains a rigid core surrounded by a dense foam
  • Provides effective support for everyday use
  • Highly versatile and adjustable, used with many types of shoes
  1. Sport Orthotics- Custom orthotics can be made for sports such as skiing where your foot often changes direction. These are created specifically for your sport boot or shoe.
  • Designed to work with a sport shoe such as an ice skate or ski boot

Over-the-Counter Inserts

Inserts bought over the counter provide a little extra cushioning that can make your foot feel better initially, but don’t offer the fit and support needed for long-term effectiveness.

  • Can be purchased easily almost anywhere
  • Made of low-density materials
  • Do not offer a custom fit to enable adequate foot support
  • Provide cushioning for the foot rather than support

A podiatrist visit is the first step in controlling and eliminating foot pain. Your podiatrist can provide a medical assessment of your foot, including the shape and contour of your foot and how you stand and walk. Foot pain can be handled, and an orthotic may be exactly what you need. A podiatrist can help you determine what types of orthotics are best for you.


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