Sometimes, the solution to your foot or ankle pain is a specially made product that provides support and comfort. If a shoe insert, custom orthotic, or ankle brace is the answer for you, our podiatrists will assess your condition and find the right product for you. Shoe inserts and orthotics can be a simple solution to a range of foot ailments, including flat foot and foot and leg pain. They can cushion your feet, provide comfort, and support your arches. An ankle brace or ankle-foot orthosis may be the solution to ankle instability and pain. At Cornerstone Foot & Ankle, we will recommend the most effective and affordable solution to your foot or ankle condition.

Over-the-Counter Shoe Inserts May Work for You

With our advice, you may be able to purchase an effective shoe insert at your local drug or grocery store. The most common over-the-counter shoe inserts include the following:

  • Arch supports. Arch supports are designed to support the foot’s natural arch, whether you have a high arch or a flat foot.
  • Insoles. Insoles slip into your shoe to provide extra cushioning and support. Insoles are often made of gel, foam, or plastic.
  • Heel liners. Heel liners, sometimes called heel pads or heel cups, provide extra cushioning in the heel region.
  • Foot cushions. Foot cushions come in many different shapes and sizes and can be used as a barrier between you and your shoes.

Many simple foot issues can be resolved with the right OTC shoe insert.

How a Custom Orthotic Is Different

Custom orthotics are specially-made shoe inserts that aid in supporting and comforting your feet. These orthotics are crafted and molded to fit your foot only. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Because most people suffer from some form of misalignment, just about anyone will benefit from wearing custom-made orthotics. There are many different styles to meet a variety of needs. Prescription orthotics are divided into two categories:

  • Functional orthotics. Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion. They may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion. They can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis. These orthotics are usually crafted of a semi-rigid material such as plastic or graphite.
  • Accommodative orthotics. Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They are typically used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other uncomfortable conditions.

Podiatrists use orthotics to treat foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendonitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and foot, ankle, and heel pain. Clinical research studies have shown that podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function.

When You May Need an Ankle Brace

Ankle instability, weakness, tendonitis, or other ankle pain may be temporarily treated with an ankle brace. These devices are available over the counter or may be custom made, but should be used with caution. Adult and teenage athletes may benefit from an ankle brace when they have suffered an ankle strain or to prevent an injury, but it is important that they see a podiatrist for a complete evaluation. Overuse of an ankle brace can weaken the ankle and make your problem worse.

Some patients may benefit from another type of ankle brace, called an ankle-foot orthosis. This device forms an L-shaped frame around the foot and ankle, providing stability and alignment for patients recovering from an injury, correcting a deformity, or who are experiencing drop foot. These devices can be custom made from a variety of materials. Our podiatrists will assess your condition and determine if an ankle-foot orthosis is right for you.

To find out more about shoe inserts, custom foot orthotics, and ankle braces contact your Cornerstone Foot & Ankle specialist today!