When insoles are mentioned, most people probably think about those flimsy things you pop in your shoes when the sole starts to wear a bit and becomes uncomfortable. Or if your shoes are a little too big and you need something to stop your foot from sliding around. But there is another type of insole and these are much more specialist – the orthotics or foot support insole. So how do you know if you need one of these and what do they do?
Supporting your Feet
Feet work hard, even if don’t have a job where you are on the go all day. They support our weight, help with posture and let us feel what we are walking on. Caring for feet is important but sometimes they need a little extra help and that’s where foot supports come in. A foot support, or orthotic, is a specially designed insole that works to balance out the natural position of your foot. The type of foot support needed therefore depends on the way our foot naturally moves and also on the type of shoes that we wear.
Foot supports are more than just normal insoles, (which merely act to make feet feel more comfortable) they are correctional insoles that help remedy a problem with the foot and relieve pressure that that problem can cause.
Do You Need a Foot Support?
So how do you know if you need a foot support? There are a few signs that can indicate help may be needed. Pain in the feet, callouses and bunions, as well as hammer toe are all signs of collapsed and fallen arches. In this case, foot supports help to realign the joints in the foot to ease the pressure caused from the arches not working properly. Foot supports can even be used as an alternative to surgery or part of the post-operative process to keep the foot, ankle, knee or hip in the correct alignment. There are three general categories of foot supports.
Rigid supports are used to control the movement in the two joints of the foot directly below the ankle. The idea of them is to stop the foot from turning in, called excessive pronation, and is often used for those who are overweight or have uneven leg lengths.
Soft supports are shock absorbers, a bit like the ones on a car. They help with balance and ease pressure points to relieve pain. They are very lightweight and are often given to people with arthritis and diabetes.
The third category is in the middle, the semi-rigid support. These are aimed at people playing sports and are often made from a combination of leather and cork layers to give a person balance.
Sometimes figuring out what is wrong with your own feet and legs can be a touch tricky – you aren’t really in the right place for it! Therefore, if you think there is a problem that foot supports may be able to rectify, it can be worth speaking to an expert at a foot clinic. They can carry out an assessment and provide advice on specific types.