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Orthotics Inserts/Insoles for flat feet, high arch feet, heel pain and bunions

Orthotics for flat feet, heel pain and bunions

The function of Orthotics
Orthotics are a medical device which is often utilized by health professional like podiatrist in supporting and realignment a person’s body postures. There are two main types of orthotics; over the counter generic orthotics or customized orthotics. Depending on the conditions, the purpose of having orthotics can be different. This post will explain how orthotics inserts/insoles can help with the conditions of flat or high arch foot, heel pain and bunions.

Orthotics for flat foot and high arch foot

For kids: If your child’s arch development is atypical for their age, such as flat foot or collapsed arches, or your child has other neurological or development conditions affecting the lower limbs and foot, it is important that your child’s foot alignment issues are treated early in their development. This would help to encourage normal development while preventing further deformity via reducing abnormal forces on the foot, ankle, knees, hips, pelvis and spine over the years of development.

For adults: If you have an established excessive pronation (flat foot) or overly supinated foot (high arched); depending on the conditions; you might be experiencing different pains and aches, ie: Plantar fascitis (plantar fasciosis), heel pain syndrome; Morton’s Neuroma; Achilles tendinopathies; bunion deformity as so on.

Orthotics for heel pain syndrome/plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most commonly encountered foot condition in a podiatrist practice. The prevalence of the condition was 2/10. That’s about 4-5 millions of the Australian’s population suffering from the condition daily. Pain is often presented first step in the morning and upon prolonged resting. Pain is often found upon palpation on the medial of the heel portion. Plantar Fasciitis is often presented secondary to tightness in the plantar fascia structure as well as the calves muscles on your legs. Pain is presented due to over used injury and degenerative state of the fascia structure. Hence, proper use of supportive orthotics and shoes are a vital step of the treatment to reduce the stress loading to the fascia.

Orthotics for bunions

Bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. Bunions are not hereditary- but, inherited bad mechanics are an underlying cause. Bad choice of footwear such as high heel and pointy shoes could be the cause too. Pain maybe felt in the big toe joint, together with a lump that enlarges with age. Left untreated the big toe will increasingly deviate until it overlaps or underlaps the 2nd toe. Pain, discomfort and difficulty wearing shoes may be experienced due to deformity. Arthritis and stiffness in the joint can also develop. Before it is too late, this can be treated with correctly fitted orthotics to realign and control the foot. Orthotics when molded to your foot limit the effects of pronation and prevent further development of the bunion. Having said that, orthotics can slow down the bunion deformity, it is not possible to cure the bunion, it has to be done through surgery.

Best shoe to accommodate orthotics

Running shoes are the best shoes to put orthotics

Finding the right shoes are difficulty when it comes to using an orthotics daily. The shoes are needed to be wide enough; deep enough; and stable enough to accommodate for the orthotics. Very often the shoes were way too flexible and unstable for the orthotics. Let me ask you; would you ever built your house on a slumpy or a muddy grounds? No ! right? . You would find a good flat ground with solid and stable foundation prior to the construction. Similarly,; you would need to have a good supportive shoe to accommodate the orthotics. Click here to read on the recommended orthotics friendly shoes and top 3 sandals for women.

Having said that, most running shoes are the best shoes to put in orthotics.

However, there are way too many types of orthotics are available in the market, how then can we as a consumer, know which one suits us more in treating painful aching foot?

The best place to get orthotics is from a Qualified Podiatrist

why the necessity?

  • Podiatrists are trained to prescribed medically graded orthotics for your needs
  • Proper assessment of your foot and body alignment and function as a whole.
  • Helps you to understand the cause of the foot problems.
  • Podiatrists can also provide treatment plans accordingly to further assist with your foot condition
  • Podiatrists can also modify the orthotics to suit your shoes and your foot

After doing some mystery shopping at different chemist shops, most of the over the counter orthotics sold were not the ideal orthotics for you as they simply doesn’t provide sufficient control and support. 

Orthotics with no support

Henceforth, save up your money. Rather than spending on an orthotics over the counter randomly; it would be best to see a podiatrist who can advised and help you with your discomfort.

In doing this; it will help you not only to save money but also to get back on your foot in a much shorter period.

Hope the information helps you to understand a little about the functions of orthotics. Over the counter orthotics are cost-efficient, but in some cases custom-made orthotics can be more helpful.





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17 thoughts on “Orthotics Inserts/Insoles for flat feet, high arch feet, heel pain and bunions

  1. It is worth investing in good shoes. It is important to find shoes that fit and support your feet. In this article is described 3 easy to implement steps to check out if the shoe is supportive or not. Great tips for helping the choice before you buy new shoes. If you have difficulties to find suitable shoes, customized orthotics is in many cases a great help. You have also great information about orthotics.

  2. We buy Scholl insoles because my partner has flat feet.  But he still struggles with discomfits.  He also suffers terribly from aches and pains so I firmly believe his shoes are a primary cause.

    Perhaps we should see a podiatrist … we never thought to do so because we always thought his flatness are that pronounced.

    1. Hi Cath, yes, please consider to see a podiatrist and hopefully your partner’s pain would be resolved. 

  3. I’m so glad I found this article as my son has been complaining about his heels hurting all the time, so rather than take him to the doctors I thought I would have a little look online to see if I could find out what might be wrong with him, and along came this orthotics inserts post which has explained why he has been having pain there all the time.

    He plays a lot of rugby and his boots have a flat insole, and his trainers are just normal flat trainers and not running shoes which normally have a bit of an arch on the insole to keep his feet curved. I thought that the bottom of his feet was naturally flat but it looks like they have formed that way over time because of the footwear that he has.

    I will be taking him to see a doctor in the morning to see if what I have found out is true but should I get these orthotic insert for his shoes or should I change his trainers altogether?

    1. Hi Matthew, after seeing your doctor, it would be good to see a podiatrist as well. Podiatrist can check his gait, biomechanics and the cause of his pain. They can also prescribe orthotics if needed, and recommend the type of footwear that suits him. With correct support and footwear, your son could enjoy playing rugby with no pain:) 

      I hope his pain can be resolved soon! Cheers

  4. Thanks a lot for all the well presented information. Orthotics appears to have come a long way recently.

    When I was a toddler they said I had bow legs and was pigeon-toed.  I have no memory of it, but may parents say that the pediatrician prescribed “wedges” for my shoes.  Today I do not have bow legs and don’t remember ever having them.  I do remember up until I was about 10 years old they told me to focus on walking with my feet pointed straight ahead.  I was obsessive thinking about that almost constantly when walking over a period of years.  I wonder how pigeon-toes would be handled today.

    Now at age 66 I have poor circulation in my legs and feet.  Is there orthotic therapy for that?  I know that the best answer is to see a doctor, but maybe you have some knowledge of that.



    1. Hi Joe,

      Unfortunately there is no orthotic therapy for poor circulation. The best thing to improve the circulation is to exercise or walking. Hope that helps 🙂

  5.  This is a very good post with a lot of great information about podiatrists.  I had no idea that orthotics could solve so many problems with the feet and past year. I know some people that have flat feet and can only wear certain types of shoes that offer good arch support. I suppose it is best to see a podiatrist to make sure that the orthotics are properly made and fitted well so that it can help fix the underlying problem.  Do you recommend seeing a podiatrist first before purchasing shoes to accommodate the orthotics?  Or will most of running shoes work OK.?

    1. HI dave,

      Most running shoes would be alright in fitting an orthotic; however some can be quite narrow in the mid soles or lack of heel counter height. hence it would be a good idea to see a podiatrist if you are interested in fitting an insole to the shoes. ( just saving you the trip back and forth from the shoe shop. ) otherwise just advised the “properly trained shoe fitter” that you will be putting an orthotic in the shoes prior to purchase.

  6. Thanks Emily.

    This article has been very informative and educative .I have a quick question ;how do you differentiate an Orthotics from  from the inner fitting of a shoes especially when it is thick.Secondly when inserting and orthotics is it necessary to remove the inner fittings of the shoe?

    Thirdly do you have any idea of  the price range it might cost to get on orthotics?

    1. HI Zuchii,

      In terms of identifying a difference with inner fitting ( original shoes insoles) and an orthotic; it is really quiet easy. An orthotic is considered a medical device aiming to provide certain controls, support or function for us. however an inner fitting ( or insole of the shoes) are most commonly made to cushion the feet from stepping on the hard soles of the shoes? ( if that makes sense) hence in most cases , insole doesn’t equal to an orthotic; thought it may sometime be padded real well at the arch area. 

      Finally. removal of the inner fitting ( insoles) ; that depends if you have enough rooms in your shoes for both orthotic and insoles as well as your feet. I would generally not recommend to have insole to be place under the orthotic as this may affect the functional aspect of the orthotic. 

  7. I guess I have a little bit of experience with bunions since I have bunions and flat feet myself. I learned a lot and it was definitely good to refresh most of these topics. Funnily enough, I’ve never visited a podiatrist in my adult life and I like to run about 10 miles a week. Maybe I’m the lucky one to not experience feet pain. I do tend to use a raquetball as a deep tissue massager almost on the daily. I remember going to a doctor in my youth and he did make me some orthotics but was over 20 years ago. Overall, this site was easy to read, informative and educational.

    1. Thank for you advised and your kind comment

  8. I like orthotics because I have issues with my feet.

    I’ve had issues with heel spurs and other foot problems.The orthotics really help.Now I’d like to try orthotics that can help me with foot numbness.

    They’ve helped me with bunions and my back as well.I bought some in the store, but I’m going to take your advice and see a podiatrist. They are the experts, right?I’m just wondering if these are covered by insurance?

    1. Hi

      Appreciates for your questions.

      Yes A podiatrist is a highly trained and qualified medical professional with special interest in your lower extremities and foot and ankles.

  9. wow I had no idea that insoles could help solve so many problem — I thought they were made only for people with flat feet.

    It’s good to know that there are different kinds to help people with other problems.

    Would you say dr shoals is a good brand, if not what kind would you recommend?

    1. hi Michael, 

      thanks for your question. 

      Orthotic was definitely a good tools to assist with a lot of pain or aches. Dr Shoals? do you mean Dr scholl? 

      Personally I would think that the brand doesn’t matter too much; what matters more would be the amount of support that an orthotic is providing and to whom it was for? wheather it was for a someone looking for a cushioning orthotic or accommodative orthotic; or corrective orthotic. it would be best to see your A Podiatrist if you are in need for further advise. 


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