If you are struggling with foot or ankle pain , have you considered orthotics? Many people begin with shoe inserts when looking for pain relief or added support. Arch supports and shoe inserts are devices that are placed inside of shoes to support and align the foot and lower extremities (knees, hips and lower back), thus preventing the progression of a foot deformity, improving the function of the foot and diminishing or eliminating pain.

Shoe inserts can be very helpful for providing comfort, cushion for your feet, and more support. However, shoe inserts cannot correct biomechanical foot problems.

The most common types of shoe inserts are:

  • Arch supports: Designed to support the foot’s natural arch.
  • Insoles: Insoles can be made of gel, foam, or plastic and are designed to provide more comfort and support.
  • Heel liners: Heel liners provide extra cushion for your heel.
  • Foot cushions: Foot cushions come in various sizes and shapes and provides a barrier between you and your shoe.

Follow these tips when choosing a shoe insert:

  • Consider your health. Do you have diabetes ? Problems with circulation? An over-the-counter insert may not be your best bet. Diabetes and poor circulation increase your risk of foot ulcers and infections, so contactyour podiatrist to help ensure that you won’t be causing any additional health problems.
  • Think about the purpose. Do you need more support or comfort in your shoes, or are you going to be running a marathon? Make sure your inserts match the level of activities they will be used for.
  • Bring your shoes. To ensure the insert will fit, bring the shoes you intend to use them with. Look for an insert that matches the shape of your shoe.
  • Try them on. Where possible, try out the insert. If you feel any discomfort, don’t assume it will go away after use. If trying them on is not an option, find out the store’s return policy.


Prescription Custom Orthotics are medical devices prescribed by a foot and ankle surgeon designed for YOUR feet. They are made to support and comfort the unique contours of your foot and designed for the way you move. There are two different kinds of prescription orthotics.

  • Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion and can be used to treat injuries and foot pain. They are usually made of a semi-rigid material such as plastic.
  • Accommodative orthotics are designed for more cushion and support.

Orthotics can be used to treat a variety of foot problems including:

Orthotics usually cost more than shoe inserts but the cost can be worth it. Research shows the prescribed foot orthotics can decrease foot pain and improve function.Prescription orthotics are also made of materials that can last many years if cared for properly. Insurance may even help pay for prescription orthotics.

If you need extra support or comfort in your shoe, an over-the-counter shoe insert is a good place to start. However, if you have been experiencing serious discomfort or pain, contact Dr. Kylin Kovac for an appointment . Dr. Kovac will listen to your symptoms, perform the necessary tests, then determine the best plan for you to help get you back to the activities you love!

Some content provided by THE APMA and THE ACFAS.