What are they?
Prescription orthotics are custom made inserts worn in your shoes. Orthotics are used to help control symptoms of the feet and lower extremities (in general). Individually constructed from a casted impression of your feet, they are designed to allow the foot to move within its normal range of motion and eliminate unnecessary movement. They can be used in all types of shoes (casual, dress, running, sport cleats).
What do they do?
The purpose of the orthotic is to hold the foot in a more neutral position allowing it to function more efficiently. An ideal orthotic should provide support, shock-absorption and protection. Orthotics are used many times to help control symptoms such as heel pain, persistent pain in the ball of the feet, ankle discomfort, bunions, corns, and calluses. In many situations, orthotics may also avoid the need for surgery.
Custom orthotics are made specifically for an individual’s foot. Although others may share a common problem, feet are unique. The physician must take into consideration the foot type, foot conditions/symptoms, types of shoes and type of activity in which the patient participates. After the evaluation, the appropriate materials are chosen from the most shock absorbing, soft and lightweight, to firmer types. Beware of stores that claim to sell “custom orthotics”. Most are ready-made inserts taken off the shelf and “fit” to your foot. In addition, over-the-counter (ready made) inserts may at times either not supply enough support or provide improper support resulting in other problems such as knee, back or hip pain.