Orthotics for Foot Problems

Topic Overview

Orthotic shoe devices are molded pieces of rubber, leather, metal, plastic, or other synthetic material that are inserted into a shoe. They balance the foot in a neutral position and cushion the foot from too much pounding. A wide range of orthotics are available for different foot problems. Doctors do not always agree about the usefulness or specific type of orthotics.

Custom-made orthotic devices may control pain if you have a specific problem, such as an unusual-shaped foot, or your foot rolls toward the arch (pronation). Custom-made orthotics are available by prescription. Insurance companies differ in how much of the cost they cover.

Before investing in an expensive pair of custom-made orthotics, consider trying good-quality nonprescription orthotics. They can usually be found at drugstores, supermarkets, and sporting goods stores. You can test the effectiveness of several different devices without great expense, which may help you decide whether a more durable custom-made device would be helpful.

You may also choose to buy well-made athletic shoes to support your feet and cushion your heels. Soft arch supports and heel cups can help cushion your feet and absorb shock.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised October 1, 2012

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