How to Pick the Right Orthotic Shoe Inserts

The human foot is a complex construction of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. A slight variance in any of those structures can cause gait changes and pain. Orthotics – supports created to wear inside the shoe – are used to correct these problems and bring pain relief.

Orthotics and various types of shoes to provide extra support and comfort for those who have foot problems ranging from flat feet to plantar fasciitis.

Choosing Orthotics – Know Your Feet

Choosing over the counter orthotics can be the first step to pain relief and improved mobility. In addition to foot pain, problems in the feet can cause pain in the ankle, knee, hip and even the back.

The pain is the result of the structural issues in the feet and your attempt to compensate by changing your gait and body mechanics. Before you can choose orthotics, you must know what your foot type is.

Simple stepping into a box filled with wet sand can help you identify such issues as a low arch. However, digital renderings are also available and even more accurate.

Types of Orthotics

Orthotics are typically designed to provide both cushioning and support. Prefabricated orthotics are like manufactured shoes – you must try them on to get a sense of which is the best choice. Sometimes, a simple cushioning insole is all that’s necessary.

For those with flat feet, arch support is critical. Orthotics may be firm or even rigid, or soft and flexible, depending on what is required for the foot. Some styles combine both kinds of qualities.

Orthotics also come in different styles suitable for such footwear as summer sandals, formal heels or work boots. For example, people with flat feet or knock knees need a firm, higher arch support. Those with a high arch are more likely to need cushioning.