In minor cases of foot pain, off-the shelf arch supports may be effective if all you need is additional cushioning or slight support. Arch supports really do nothing to correct the significant biomechanical problems that plague many of our patients, especially runners. If you are suffering with chronic foot pain that just won’t go away, you will likely require custom orthotics to relieve your pain long term. Orthotics are made specifically for your underlying biomechanical problem and therefore effectively realign and improve your foot function.
I use the analogy that custom orthotics are like custom eye glasses for your feet. Sure you can get some relief from “cheater-readers type” glasses you can purchase at your local pharmacy, but the glasses made specifically for you by an optometrist or ophthalmologist are much better in correcting your vision. Custom foot orthotics are exactly the same.
Custom orthotics have been the mainstay of treatment for many foot and ankle conditions for over 50 years. There is good evidence that confirms that foot orthotics work for biomechanically induced foot and ankle problems including: plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, Hallux limitus (stiff big toe), adult-acquired flat foot (posterior tibial tendon dysfunction), rheumatoid arthritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome and lateral ankle instability to name a few of the most common.