If you’re new to the field of orthotics and everything surrounding footwear, you could easily become miffed in your search for a simple way to support your feet.
For example, the term “orthotic shoe inserts” could mean any of the following:
• a device inserted into one’s shoe for the purpose of improving foot function
• devices added to one’s shoes on top of the current insole that came with the shoe
• devices added to one’s shoes as a replacement for the current insole that came with the shoe
The best way to explain this topic is really with photos. If orthotic shoe inserts are devices inserted into one’s shoes to improve foot function, then they may be small in nature. For example, the Pedag Step Arch Support Insert is shaped like an irregular half moon and added to shoes in the area of the medial longitudinal arch. This is the medial aspect of your foot; the inner part between the heel and the ball of the foot.
Pedag Step Arch Support Inserts come in a whole range of sizes from small to extra large because your foot size determines how large the arch of your foot is.
Other orthotic shoe inserts will go after improving heel function and thus support the heel. For example, Pedag Correct Heel Inserts are made for the correction of bow-legs and knock knees. These orthotic shoe inserts live up to the true definition of the term – they are orthotic in that they are meant to treat a condition (and are used by podiatrists for exactly that) and they are inserted into the shoe (on top of the present insole) for the area of the heel.
The Pedag Point Heel Spur Inserts are similar in that they are orthotic (meant to treat a condition and used by podiatrists) and inserted into the shoe. When someone has a heel spur, there’s an extra piece of bone that is seen in the area where the spur would touch the shoe. The Pedag company created a soft part of this insert so when the heel spur digs down as you walk, there won’t be pain.
Similarly, the Orthaheel Gel Heel Orthotic Inserts are orthotic shoe inserts that sports a few additional features – in this case it has a deep heel cup so the heel won’t move out of alignment in the shoe, a wedge to prevent the foot from turning inward as you walk (this is called over pronation.), and a heel cup shock dot strategically placed at the point where the heel touches the ground (and used as extra cushioning for this purpose).
The American Podiatric Association likes the Orthaheel Gel Heel Orthotic Inserts because they may be used in several different conditions where there may be pain in the foot, heel, knee or low back due to foot conditions.
Orthotic shoe inserts may also mean orthotic insoles that replace the current insoles. These are not simply pieces of foam; instead, they are shaped to ergonomically fit the contours of the foot.
Orthotic shoe inserts may also mean arch supports and arch boosters, adjustable heel lifts, gel heel cushions, and diabetic foot beds that cushion the steps of diabetics.