ORTHOTICS (shoe inserts) – what are they and why do we use them?

Prescription Feet Inserts - Foot Specialists of Greater CincinnatiPeople who have vision problems often time need corrective lenses to see better, so they visit an ophthalmologist / optometrist to get fitted for glasses.  Well, take that concept and apply it to the foot… that is what an orthotic is for.   Orthotics are corrective inserts that are placed in shoes to address (and hopefully relieve) certain biomechanical and/or structural problems with the feet.  Think of them as “eyeglasses for the feet”. There are essentially two types of orthotic inserts, prefabricated, and prescription.

There are essentially two types of orthotic inserts – prefabricated, and prescription.

The prefabricated orthotic is typically an “all-purpose” insert that was prefabricated in a factory for the general population.  They can often be helpful in minor or “not-so-serious” foot issues.  Foot structure can vary greatly in the population.  They are generally less specific to a particular shape of a foot type, and will often wear out faster; however, they are also generally less expensive.  Often times it’s not a bad idea to try to start out with a prefabricated (or over-the-counter) insert first.

The prescription orthotic is a device that is generally more specific to the shape of a foot and designed to more accurately address a particular deformity or insufficiency.  There is generally more “thought” placed into such a device to address the problem, and X-rays of the foot are often used to assist in making them.  They are often made of a more durable material and tend to last longer. They usually lend more support to the foot, however they are also more expensive.

Before you go spending a lot of money on over the counter products and various types of shoes for an unresolved foot or ankle issue, it is often best to discuss the problem with your podiatrist first to see which type is best for you.

While it is part of the practice, at Foot Specialists of Greater Cincinnati, we don’t make a living at selling shoes and orthotics….. we’ll shoot you straight.  Bottom line –  We’re not going to try and talk you into something you don’t need.