Understanding Orthotic Insoles – What Are They and How Do They Work?
4 mins read

Understanding Orthotic Insoles – What Are They and How Do They Work?

Whether you are looking for a quick fix to relieve pain or something more long-term, orthotics can help. They’re specially designed inserts that help correct foot function and alleviate problems like plantar fasciitis.

Gel or foam insoles may squish under slight pressure, but true orthotic insoles have firm arch supports that optimally hold your feet.

What are Orthotics?

Orthotics are medical insoles prescribed by a podiatrist or pedorthist that fit into your shoes. They relieve pain from foot deformities, improve how you walk, and reduce the stress on other parts of your body.

Insoles you buy in stores are usually soft, flimsy inserts made of gel or foam. They’re intended to replace the generic shoe insoles and add cushioning and support, but they don’t correct the underlying issues that cause your pain.

Custom molded insoles are more advanced and are designed to address your specific foot problems. They are often uncomfortable initially as they realign your feet and legs. However, if you persevere and wear them consistently, they should become comfortable after a week. You’ll also find that they last much longer than soft insoles, which tend to lose shape and stop providing support over time. Also, you can use them in different pairs of shoes.

Why are Orthotics Important?

While insoles can be purchased over the counter and are a great way to relieve foot pain, orthotics are medically endorsed and designed for specific needs. When you go to a clinic specializing in orthotic insoles Ottawa, they’ll scan your feet, manufacture the device, and fit it into your shoes.

The device can be made of various materials depending on your specific needs but is typically constructed from hard plastics or graphite with cushioning and support added in the form of Neoprene and open- and closed-cell foams. They’re designed to be rigid enough to control unnatural movement and stable enough to help correct your foot and ankle alignment.

Orthotics relieve pressure and strain from your feet, alleviate pain in your legs, knees, and back, and prevent foot injuries. They’re vital to your overall health and shouldn’t be ignored. 

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How do Orthotics Work?

Whether pricey custom-made inserts or cheap ones from the drugstore, orthotics work by placing your foot in a better position to relieve pain. 

Over-the-counter orthotics typically use a generic model that fits most feet and may provide a cushion with memory foam or other inexpensive material. These insoles are meant to be a temporary solution for a specific type of foot problem like plantar fasciitis, heel pain, or flat feet.

A high-quality pair of orthotic insoles designed by a podiatrist or medical professional can be made for various problems and are designed to last several years. They are cost-effective to address standard foot issues such as bunions, flat feet, and foot pain. They are also designed to be used in various shoes and may require an adjustment period.

What are the Different Types of Orthotics?

There are many different types of orthotic insoles. Some are made from foam or gel, providing extra cushioning and shock absorption for your feet. Others are more structured and help improve foot posture, balance, and stability by redistributing weight to relieve joint pressure.

Prefabricated orthotic insoles are often the most affordable and easy to find. They’re usually made from a base material, such as cork, foam, or double resin, to which corrective and stabilizing elements are glued. They are designed to fit various shoe sizes and can be cut down to the size you need.

Other orthotics are custom molded to your feet by a podiatrist, sports medicine physician, or orthopedic surgeon. They are based on diagnostic testing and foot scans to ensure they fit your specific foot anatomy perfectly. They treat foot conditions such as flat feet, heel pain, and shin splints.

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