After years of foot pain, you decide to purchase orthotics and are excited to finally get the comfort and support you need and deserve. There are many different types of orthotics on the market and not all of them will be the right fit for you.
Certain factors should be kept in mind when you are looking at orthotics and the following tips will guarantee that you purchase the ones that best meet your needs and put your feet on a comfortable and pain-free path.
1. Custom vs. over-the-counter
When considering orthotics, the first choice you need to make is whether you will seek the services of a podiatrist to get prescription orthotics or if an over-the-counter product will suffice. Custom orthotics from a podiatrist are shoes or insoles made especially for your feet, meaning that they are guaranteed to provide you with the support and comfort you need.
Over-the-counters can be purchased and they are molded to your foot through the application of heat. While custom orthotics are ideal because they are manufactured by professionals based on the specific requirements of a person, some people are prohibited from purchasing them due to cost restraints if they are not covered by extended health benefits. Over-the-counter products are deemed acceptable because they are softer and able to accommodate most foot types but orthotics will last longer as they are made largely of plastic polymer which is very durable.
2. Consider your objective, needs, lifestyle
Before purchasing orthotics, your lifestyle and the situations where you will be using them most should be considered. There are two typical types of orthotics. Functional orthotics are designed to effectively treat pain and injuries. Accommodative orthotics are meant more to provide comfort to your feet.
Keeping this in mind will help you in purchasing the orthotics you need. If you want orthotics because of long-standing pain in your feet, consider the functional type. If you want to be more comfortable in your work boots or in your running shoes, choose the accommodative orthotics. If you are on your feet for most of the day, orthotics that are more firm will apply gently pressure to your feet throughout the day whereas those who are not as active would benefit from soft orthotics that will serve to cushion the foot.
3. Consider your shoe
When considering orthotic insoles, you definitely need to consider the shoe that they will be placed into. If you mainly wear slip-on shoes, dress shoes, or high heels, you will most likely have to consider a moldable option that can be altered to fit. Most orthotics will fit athletic footwear however you may have to make room by removing inserts that came with the shoes when you bought them. An ideal shoe to wear with orthotics will have extra depth at the toes and heel to allow the foot to sit normally and comfortably.
4. Patient information
Obviously every person’s body is different therefore when it comes to orthotics there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You know your body better than anyone else so you need to provide input to the podiatrist regarding what works for you and what does not. If you have flatter feet, you will benefit more from an orthotic with firm arch support as this will allow for more stability for your feet.
People with low arches will benefit from a softer product due to their foot’s inability to absorb shocks when active. People who suffer from arthritis or diabetes may experience pain with harder orthotics so the softer insoles would be best. In contrast, those who are overweight would benefit more from firmer orthotics because they are able to withstand the extra weight.
In any event, before settling on any type of orthotics, try different types on to see how they fit. You would hate to purchase them to find out later that they are problematic and not giving you the comfort and support you were looking for.