What are Orthotics?

Orthotics are specialized devices designed to support and improve the function of the feet and lower extremities. Custom-made to fit an individual’s specific foot structure and needs, orthotics are used to correct irregular or abnormal walking patterns. Unlike over-the-counter shoe inserts, orthotics are precision devices prescribed by podiatrists or other healthcare professionals after a thorough examination of the feet, ankles, and legs. They play a crucial role in providing relief from discomfort, improving mobility, and preventing further complications associated with foot and lower limb conditions.

What are the Signs & Symptoms That Orthotics May Be Needed?

  • Persistent foot pain
  • Abnormal wear patterns on shoes
  • Foot deformities (such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, or hammertoes)
  • Leg or back pain
  • Frequent ankle sprains
  • Tired legs

Orthotics FAQ

Custom orthotics are designed for your own feet. They’ll provide strong support where you need it, without going overboard in places you don’t. You’ll have just the right amount of cushioning to relieve and prevent foot pain. Plus, custom orthotics are designed to move with your feet, meaning they won’t slip around in your shoes.

General shoe inserts, such as arch supports and insoles, are usually easy to find at any grocery store. But they’re designed for every foot. While you might get some initial cushioning and pain relief, it likely won’t last long. As the shoe insert quickly wears down, or improperly supports your foot, you’ll probably be in even more pain. 

If you just need a little relief from standing or walking all day, you might do just fine with over-the-counter shoe inserts. But chronic, severe foot pain can be a sign that you have to get a thorough evaluation from an expert, like Dr. Hausman. Once you get a diagnosis, Dr. Hausman may recommend custom orthotics if you have:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bone spurs
  • A stone bruise
  • Arthritis 
  • A heel fracture

It depends on your condition. You might only need orthotics temporarily while an injury is healing. If you have a more chronic condition though, like arthritis or flat feet, orthotics might become a permanent fixture in your shoes. Because they’re designed to fit your feet perfectly, you’ll probably find that your orthotics are so comfortable that you’ll want to wear them all the time.  

It’s true that you’ll likely pay more upfront for your orthotics than store-bought inserts. But many times, they’re designed to last for years. So if you’re used to replacing your inserts every month or so as they wear down, you won’t have to worry about that with orthotics. Their long-lasting, durable material will keep your feet pain-free for a long time. 

It’s even possible that your insurance or flexible spending account might cover a portion of your custom orthotics, further decreasing any amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket.