Shoe Inserts vs. Orthotics
There are literally hundreds of products on the market that claim that they “will improve foot comfort” or “relieve pain”. So what makes all of these different?
An insole is simply a shoe insert, typically cushioned for comfort or molded for orthopedic reasons. (Common varieties include Doctor Scholl’s) However, most insoles don’t have any real support and often only relieve pain for a short time, eventually increasing foot problems as they wear down.
An orthotic is developed by science, employing mechanical devices to proactively support your limbs, in this case your feet. Foot orthoses help support, align, prevent and/or correct deformities and improve the overall function of your feet. These devises are a way to stabilize your feet, relieve pressure, and get the biomechanical function of your feet back in alignment.
Orthotics are tailored to your individual feet. There can be a major difference between your right and left. Plaster molds, foam impressions and even digital scanning are available to make a master model of your feet, which can then be sent to various technicians. Then, they will fabricate your custom orthotics.
Before you are fit for inserts or custom orthotics, you will need full foot exam by your podiatrist to insure you receive a proper prescription. Foot orthotics are much like eye glasses. Some people benefit from the “off the shelf reading” glasses, while others need to be examined and fit for the appropriate prescription. An orthotic that fits properly will provide you with the support to walk pain-free again, and for years to come.