Shoe inserts and orthotics are frequently used to treat foot pain, straighten poor posture, and correct gait abnormalities. However, generic insoles and orthotics shouldn’t be considered solutions for the same problems.
The Benefits of Drugstore Insoles
Insoles, or shoe inserts, are generic accessories. You can buy insert packs from medical supply shops, drugstores, and even some shopping centers. They often contain gel cushioning or padding and are commonly marketed to people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Inserts can also be used to treat certain varieties of acute foot pain or discomfort.
Inserts are mass-produced products manufactured to help as many people as possible at the lowest cost. While gel insoles and other such products can provide temporary relief, such inserts aren’t an ideal option for people in need of long-term solutions for long-term problems.
The Benefits of Custom Orthotics
Orthotics are similar to ordinary inserts, with one very important exception: they’re made exclusively for you. When you purchase custom orthotics, your podiatrist will do at least two things:
- Evaluate the shape, curvature, and dimensions of your feet
- Discuss why you need orthotics, and design a piece that suits your unique needs
Since orthotics are designed and created by podiatrists for individual patients, they have significantly more uses than regular inserts. They can, for instance, provide more comfort and better arch support than drugstore-bought gel or foam insoles. However, you may be surprised to learn that orthotics can also help:
- Improve your posture
- Correct gait abnormalities caused by habit or medical conditions
Orthotics can also help reduce recovery time for people suffering plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon ruptures, and more. That’s because the design of your orthotics considers the minute biomechanical positions and movements of your feet—and incorporates surfaces and changes meant to reposition your feet. These slight alterations can have a noticeable impact on how you hold yourself and walk.