Orthotics and insoles
An orthotic is an external device used to support a body area. A wrist splint, a knee brace, a removable boot and shoe insoles are all examples of orthotics.
Foot orthotics are usually prescribed by a doctor and fitted by an orthotist or a podiatrist.
A podiatrist is a foot care heathcare provider who assesses foot mechanics and fits orthotics. These can either fit into shoes or be incorporated as part of the shoe or sandal.
Insoles work in one of 3 ways (or sometimes in combination):
1. They can correct a flexible deformity (such as flat feet)
2. They can accommodate a fixed deformity and redistribute pressure away from a painful area (such as midfoot arthritis with collapse and stifness)
3. They can offload an overloaded pressure area (such as an ulcer)
It is important for the functions of orthotics not be confused. Trying to use a corrective device in a stiff deformity will increase pain, not decrease it.
An example of a corrective orthotic and a boot