Types of Orthotics
Generally, foot specialists group orthotics into two categories: functional orthotics and accommodative orthotics. However, there are several types of orthotics. Functional orthotics are designed to support abnormal foot biomechanics. They are usually made of materials such as plastic polymer and are good for preventing foot pronation (foot flattening). They also help with shock absorption while you are walking or in motion. Functional orthotics are used to correct various foot deformities while supporting the rear foot and the mid–foot regions. There are also orthotics that combine both functional and accommodative features.
Examples of accommodative orthotics are braces, splints, casts, gait plates, and night bars. These types of orthotics can be used on anyone, and are used to relieve mild foot pain and to correct minor foot problems.
Orthotics also differ in the materials they are made from. Rigid orthotic devices are typically made of plastic or carbon fiber. Devices made of these materials are usually used to control motion of the joints in the foot. Soft orthotic devices are typically made of soft, compressible materials such as silicone or foam. These devices are effective if a person has arthritis or a foot deformity that causes a loss of protective fatty tissue on the side of the foot. Semi–rigid orthotic devices are a combination of soft, compressible materials that are reinforced by more rigid materials. Athletes benefit most from this type of orthotic material. Additional types of materials used to create orthotics include rubber, metal, leather, and plastics.

Custom orthotics rejuvenated and given new extended life at Vaneks Shoe Repair

Am I a Candidate for Orthotics?
Just about anyone who feels they need some type of additional support for walking or running is a good candidate for orthotics. Orthotics are especially good for people who want to relieve or prevent common foot problems that are known to cause pain, swelling, and discomfort. Even those without pain can often benefit from orthotics, however. Here is a look at common symptoms that indicate a need for orthotics due to misalignment of the feet:
  • Bunions
  • Abnormal shoe wear (for example, if one side of your shoe wears down quicker than the other)
  • Chronic heel, knee or lower back pain
  • Flat feet
  • Shin splints
  • Frequent ankle sprains
  • Gait abnormalities (when your feet point inward or outward when walking)
If you feel discomfort when you walk, you should seek help from local Shoe Repair Specialist (Vanek’s Shoe Repair) and a podiatrist, or some other type of foot specialist. They may be able to help you decide which orthotics device would be best for you. Remember, the longer you leave a problem untreated, the more likely the condition will worsen.

Cost of Orthotics
The cost of your orthopedic device will depend on the brand name, whether the device is over–the–counter or prescription, the type of device (insert, custom–made, etc.). Inserts and wedges can be bought at a local Shoe Repair Expert store (Vanek’s Shoe Repair) and range in price from $12—$50. Custom–made devices can range from $100—$500, but this too depends on the doctor, and the materials used. Custom Orthotics can have adjustments made and revitalized at fraction of the cost ranging from $25—$150.