Orthotics: A Comprehensive Guide to Improving Foot and Ankle Health

Orthotics are custom-made shoe or heel inserts prescribed by a doctor to treat various foot, leg, and back problems. Unlike over-the-counter arch supports or shoe inserts, orthotics offered by podiatrists in Maryville, IL are designed to address specific issues and provide support, stability, and relief to the feet and ankles. 

In this article, we will delve into the world of orthotics, exploring their benefits, types, and conditions they can treat.

 Foot and Ankle Health

What conditions can be treated by orthotics?

Orthotics can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:


  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause discomfort in the feet and poor positioning, which orthotics can help correct.

Back pain

  • Poor positioning of the feet, such as arches that roll inward, or lack of cushioning can cause pain that orthotics can alleviate.


  • Painful bumps that develop at the base of the big toe can be reduced with orthotics featuring a wide toe box.


  • Inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the heels and toes can cause pain and discomfort, which orthotics with heel and arch support can help reduce.


  • Orthotics can help reduce excess stress and pressure that can lead to foot ulcers in people with diabetes.

Flat feet

  • Orthotics can support the feet and promote proper foot positioning to alleviate pain and discomfort.

Hammer toes

  • Orthotics can provide additional support to the feet and reduce the likelihood of hammer toes worsening.

Heel spurs

  • Orthotics can support the foot and reduce inflammation caused by excess bone growth on the heel.

High arches

  • Orthotics can prevent feet from rolling excessively inward or outward, reducing stress on muscles in the feet.


  • Orthotics can provide extra support during the healing process after trauma to the feet and ankles.

Plantar fasciitis

  • Orthotics can support the heel and foot to alleviate pain caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia.

How do orthotics work?

Orthotics help relieve a lot of foot and ankle issues, and work by:

  • Correcting foot deformities
  • Helping the foot or ankle function better
  • Providing support to the ankle
  • Reducing the risks of further injuries

What are the types of orthotics? 

Orthotics can be classified into four areas of the body:

  • Lower extremities
  • Upper extremities
  • Trunk
  • Head

They can also be classified by function:

  • Paralysis orthoses
  • Relief orthoses

Orthotics can be custom-made to provide optimal support and stability for each individual. The process of creating orthotics involves:

Custom-fabricated products: Individually manufactured to match the specific needs of the patient.

Semi-finished products: Used for fast supply in the case of diseases that occur frequently.

Finished products: Short-term orthoses or bandages for a limited duration of therapy.

What benefits do orthotics offer?

Orthotics offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Alleviate pain
  • Improved mobility
  • Increased stability
  • Enhanced support
  • Prevention of further injuries and complications 

What is the process involved in getting orthotics? 

If you’re experiencing foot or ankle problems, consult a doctor or podiatrist for a comprehensive evaluation. They will:

  • Ask about your symptoms
  • Conduct a physical exam of your feet
  • Use special imaging or pads to determine the exact location and type of problems in the structure and function of your feet
  • Recommend traditional imaging, such as X-rays, bone scans, or MRIs, if necessary
  • Prescribe orthotics if deemed necessary

Wrapping up

Orthotics are a valuable tool in treating various foot, leg, and back problems. By understanding how orthotics work and the conditions they can treat, individuals can take the first step toward improved foot and ankle health. If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain in your feet or ankles, consult a doctor or podiatrist to determine if orthotics are right for you. With the right orthotics, you can enjoy improved mobility, increased stability, and a life free from pain.