Choosing an orthotic shoe insert
An orthotic is a device that goes into your shoe to help support the foot in various ways. Orthotics can provide cushioning, even out pressure, and control abnormal motion that might be causing discomfort or pain.
They’re used to help prevent, improve or accommodate a wide variety of foot problems. Orthotic devices are also used to help bring your feet, ankles and lower body into proper alignment.
There are two main categories to choose from:
- Nonprescription shoe inserts — These prefabricated inserts can be found in many pharmacies, shoe stores and sporting goods stores. They can be made from a variety of materials ranging from soft to semirigid. Some can be heat molded to better fit the contours of your foot. Nonprescription options are often a good place to start if your doctor recommends a shoe insert to treat foot pain. Select one that feels comfortable right away — if it hurts or simply doesn’t feel right, it’s unlikely to get better with time.
- Custom-molded prescription orthotics — These medical devices are prescribed by a doctor and are made from a mold or computer analysis of your foot. Custom orthotics are more expensive than nonprescription shoe inserts — check to see if they’re covered by your insurance. The Extra cost may be worth it if you need greater support or if you can’t find a nonprescription option that fits comfortably. Regardless of what type you choose, talk with your doctor first so that you can make sure you buy the right type of insert for the foot condition you’re trying to address.
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