Key Points about Orthotics

  • A custom-built orthotic is an orthopedic device that is used to align your feet and ankles, so they are in the proper anatomical position.
  • The body of the custom orthotic realigns the foot by redirecting or reducing inefficient foot movements while walking.
  • The insoles are made from a precise implant of your feet.
  • Your doctor may prescribe orthotics if other therapies and over-the-counter shoe inserts are not helping.


Orthotics are custom made shoe or heel inserts that are prescribed for people who have issues with their feet or ankles.

Goals of using orthotics include:

  • Correct a foot deformity
  • Help the foot or ankle function better
  • Support the ankle
  • Reduce risks of having other foot or ankle injuries.

Orthotics candidates

Your orthopedist may prescribe orthotics to address a variety of symptoms that present in the feet or legs.

Orthotics expectations

During your orthotics fitting, your doctor will:

  • Take a full medical and lifestyle history to reveal any diseases that may affect your musculoskeletal system or determine if you have any past injuries. A lifestyle analysis will help your doctor decide which orthotics are best for you.
  • Perform a detailed biomechanical examination of the foot and ankles to see how they relate to the rest of the body. During the exam, your doctor will observe how you walk and stand.
  • Take an impression of the foot to build a customized orthotic for your foot.
  • Ask you to bring a couple of pairs of your shoes to determine if the orthotics fit in the shoe correctly. Modifications can be made over the course of several weeks.

Orthotics treatment

Typically, it takes two weeks to break in new orthotics. Usually, orthotics last two to three years, however, you may need to replace them earlier if:

  • Your initial symptoms have returned.
  • The cushioning in the orthotics is wearing down.
  • The treads on the orthotics are wearing down.

Find an orthopedic specialist near you

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