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How do custom orthotics differ from store-bought insoles?

Regular insoles are created to simply provide cushion and support to any foot. Due to this setup, they are known for being shock absorbers. In contrast, orthotics are created to fix biomechanical problems. Most people that need orthotics are people who overpronate when they walk or have pes planus (flat feet). Orthotics are ideal to optimize foot function and thus decrease risk of injury by correcting these potential foot problems. Ready-made orthotics can be purchased in sporting good or shoe stores. Custom orthotics may also be prescribed by a physician or appropriate healthcare provider. (This answer provided for NATA by the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Holman Chan, MD
Foot & Ankle Surgery
Over-the-counter orthotics are a good first step before custom orthotics, says Holman Chan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he says that some over-the-counter orthotics might do the job just as well, for much lower cost.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.