What are foot orthotics?

Conan R. Parke, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
Foot orthotics are used to help support the feet and provide equal distribution of weight across the foot. Watch Conan Parke, DPM, from MountainView Hospital, explain the importance of foot orthotics.
Hillary B. Brenner, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
Orthotics are shoe inserts that correct an abnormal walking pattern. An analogy is as glasses correct the way we see, orthotics correct the way we walk. Overall, orthotics place your foot in a corrected position making standing, walking, and running more comfortable. Podiatrists will prescribe orthotics for patients with high arches, flat feet, bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis/bone spurs etc. The use of orthotics is highly successful and has helped many people avoid surgery. They can come in many forms such as rigid, soft, or semi-rigid. Anyone from children all the way to the geriatric patients can wear them.
Alec O. Hochstein, DPM
Podiatric Medicine

Orthotics, also known as orthoses, refers to any device inserted into a shoe, ranging from felt pads to custom-made shoe inserts that correct an abnormal or irregular, walking pattern. Sometimes called arch supports, orthotics allow people to stand, walk, and run more efficiently and comfortably. While over-the-counter orthotic are available and may help people with mild symptoms, they normally cannot correct the wide range of symptoms that prescription foot orthoses can since they are not custom made to fit an individual's unique foot structure. Your Podiatrists may use advanced foot scanning capture techniques to ensure the perfect fit and function of your orthotic.

Often times orthotics will not "correct" a deformity.

A good analogy is that they can improve your foot function in much the same way a pair of glasses helps your eyes work better. 


Prescription shoe inserts called foot orthotics are used to treat many orthopedic foot and ankle problems. In addition, foot orthotics are prescribed to treat biomechanically related problems involving the knee, hip, and lower back. These conditions are often responsive to the stability and improved mechanics that these devices provide. Sport-specific orthotics designed to both improve athletic performance and reduction of sports-related injury are also prescribed for running, tennis, squash, golf, basketball, alpine and cross-country skiing, cycling, spinning, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and figure skates, in-line skating, and hiking.

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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.