Orthotic shoe devices are molded pieces of rubber, leather, metal,
plastic, or other synthetic material that are inserted into a shoe. They
balance the foot in a neutral position and cushion the foot from too much
pounding. A wide range of orthotics are available for different foot problems.
Doctors do not always agree about the usefulness or specific type
Custom-made orthotic devices may control pain if you have a specific
problem, such as an unusual-shaped foot, or your foot rolls toward the arch
(pronation). Custom-made orthotics are available by prescription. Insurance
companies differ in how much of the cost they cover.
Before investing in an expensive pair of custom-made orthotics,
consider trying good-quality nonprescription orthotics. They can usually be
found at drugstores, supermarkets, and sporting goods stores. You can test the
effectiveness of several different devices without great expense, which may
help you decide whether a more durable custom-made device would be
You may also choose to buy well-made athletic shoes to support your
feet and cushion your heels. Soft arch supports and heel cups can help cushion
your feet and absorb shock.
October 1, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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