There is a lot of debate on the Internet surrounding orthotics. Whether they are actually useful or not and what you should pay for them. No matter what you read on the Internet remember that only a qualified podiatrist can tell if custom orthotics are right for you. That being said there is a big difference between shoe inserts that you can buy at a drugstore and those that are tailor made for your feet. There are times when both have their uses.
Over the counter shoe inserts like Dr. Scholl’s are good options if you just need a bit more padding in a certain shoe that you wear a lot and you are not doing any activity where you are at risk of injury. Custom orthotics are good for athletes, runners, people with abnormal arches and diabetics.
An important note though is that custom orthotics are supposed to be made to fit your feet, not the other way around. If you find yourself being fitted for orthotics that are meant to change your gait and they are not comfortable, you should seriously consider whether you need them or not. Many people who get uncomfortable orthotics stop wearing them soon after getting them and they become a waste of money.
Runners like to debate whether they need orthotics or not and while the decision ultimately lies with the runner, here are a couple major benefits custom orthotics offer runners. First, orthotics support and encourage the back to sit in its proper alignment. Runners then benefit from good posture while running and that makes it easier to breath properly. Second, runners experience knee pain more frequently than non-runners do and orthotics can be great at relieving knee and minor foot pain.
The reason orthotics are often recommended to people with diabetes may not be immediately clear. Diabetes can cause a number of problems including poor circulation, pain and numbness in the feet. Diabetics with these symptoms must check their feet frequently for injuries because they can be unaware of having them. Custom orthotics are good for diabetics because they reduce the likelihood of injury and relieve unnecessary pressure that they might not be aware of.
A person with high arches benefits from custom orthotics because the orthotics are made to the height of their arches. They support their feet in a way that over the counter shoe inserts can’t offer due to the abnormally high arch.
The same principle runs below why people with flat arches can benefit from orthotics. They are custom made to support their arches but no more, so the person doesn’t develop an odd and uncomfortable walking pattern.
If you have any of these problems it is highly likely that you would benefit from having custom orthotics made for you. If you are unsure or have unusual feet problems visiting your local podiatrist is advised as they have specialized knowledge and will analyze your gait and discuss your lifestyle before making their recommendation.