How Custom Orthotics Can Help You Walk Better

Your Guide to Custom Orthotics

What Are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are specially designed shoe inserts that are tailored to an individual’s specific foot shape and biomechanics. They are often recommended by Podiatrists to address foot and lower limb pain, improve athletic performance, and enhance overall comfort.

Important Questions To Ask Before Getting Them

Some questions you should research and discuss with your Podiatrist include:

  • What is your current foot and ankle condition? 
  • What is the purpose of your orthotics? 
  • Are you an athlete or a sportsperson? 
  • What shoes do you wear? 
  • Other foot or ankle health concerns?

How do you know if you need Custom Orthotics?

You may benefit from custom orthotics:

If you want:

  • Foot pain relief: Individuals experiencing foot pain due to various causes, such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or high arches, may benefit from custom created.
  • Better sports performance: Athletes involved in high-impact sports, such as running or basketball, can benefit from them to improve their performance and reduce the risk of injury.

If you have:

  • Overpronation: People who overpronate or have unstable flat feet may benefit from them to help correct their gait and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Supination: People who supinate or have high arches may benefit from custom orthotics to help distribute pressure evenly across the foot and improve shock absorption.
  • Arthritis: People with arthritis may benefit from them to reduce pain, provide support, and improve mobility.

If you need:

  • Diabetic foot care: Individuals with diabetes may benefit from custom orthotics to prevent foot ulcers, improve circulation, and reduce pressure on the feet.
  • Posture improvement: Individuals with poor posture, such as forward head posture or flat feet, may benefit from them to help align the body and improve overall posture.
  • Comfort: People who spend a lot of time standing or walking, such as nurses or retail workers, may benefit from them to improve overall comfort and reduce fatigue

Do Custom Orthotics work?

Scientific evidence reveals that custom orthotics can be effective in treating various foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, overpronation, and flat feet.

Custom Orthotics work by:

  • Biomechanical correction: They work by correcting an individual’s foot biomechanics, which can improve alignment, reduce stress on the feet and legs, and prevent injuries.
  • Arch support: Custom created provides support for the arch of the foot, which can help alleviate pain and improve overall foot function.
  • Pressure redistribution: They redistribute pressure on the foot to help alleviate pain and prevent injuries, such as plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.
  • Shock absorption: Custom orthotics can help absorb shock and reduce the impact on the feet, which can be particularly beneficial for athletes or individuals involved in high-impact activities.

Custom orthotics allow for individualized design, specifically made for an individual’s unique foot shape and biomechanics, ensuring a proper fit and maximum effectiveness. Made from quality materials, they can provide the necessary level of support, comfort, and durability.

It is through this, that the patient can enjoy pain relief of the foot, ankle, knee and back. Custom orthotics work by correcting alignment and reducing pressure on affected areas. 

Additionally, improved function including gait and balance can occur with them, leading to better mobility and athletic performance.

A professional fitting of the custom orthotics is performed by a trained Podiatrist who takes into account an individual’s foot shape, size, and condition to ensure the best possible fit and effectiveness.

Patient satisfaction is at the center of this treatment, with many reporting significant improvement in foot pain and function after using custom orthotics, again indicating their effectiveness.

Are custom-made better than off-the-shelf?

Custom orthotics are typically better than off-the-shelf orthotics because they are designed to fit the specific shape and needs of an individual’s feet. Off-the-shelf types are mass-produced and may not provide the necessary support or cushioning for a particular foot shape or condition.

Custom orthotics are typically made by taking a mould or impression of the feet and using this to create a personalized insole that is tailored to the individual’s foot shape and condition. This can provide better support, cushioning, and stability, improving comfort and reducing the risk of foot injuries.

However, custom-made can be more expensive than off-the-shelf options and may require a longer wait time for fabrication. Additionally, some individuals may find that off-the-shelf work well for their needs, particularly if they have a relatively common foot shape and condition.

Ultimately, the decision between custom and off-the-shelf orthotics will depend on an individual’s specific foot condition, budget, and preferences. It’s important to consult with a podiatrist or other foot health professional to determine the best option for your needs.

What shoes can I wear with custom orthotics? 

Most types of shoes can be worn with custom-made orthotics, but some styles are more accommodating than others. It’s best to choose shoes with a removable insole or a wide-toe box to accommodate them.

Here are some types of shoes that can work well with custom-made orthotics:

  1. Athletic shoes: Many types of athletic shoes have removable insoles and a spacious toe box, making them a great choice. Running shoes, walking shoes, and cross-training shoes are all good options.
  2. Boots: Boots with removable insoles are a good choice for those who need extra support and cushioning. Hiking boots, work boots, and winter boots are all good options.
  3. Comfort shoes: Comfort shoes, such as loafers, Mary Janes, and slip-ons, often have removable insoles and a wider toe box, making them a good option.
  4. Sandals: Some sandals are designed with removable insoles or adjustable straps that can accommodate custom-made. Look for sandals with a closed heel for better support.
  5. Dress shoes: Dress shoes can be a bit trickier to wear with them, but some styles are designed to accommodate them. Look for dress shoes with a removable insole or a deeper heel cup.

In general, it’s a good idea to bring your orthotics with you when shopping for new shoes so you can try them on together and ensure a comfortable fit.

What to expect from your appointment/s for custom-made orthotics 

Appointments assess, fit and review your custom-made orthotics. When you visit a podiatrist for custom-made orthotics, here are some things you can expect:

First appointment

  • Consultation and Examination: Your podiatrist will examine your feet, discuss your medical history, and ask about your symptoms and activities. They will also evaluate your gait and foot structure to determine the type that would be most beneficial for you.
  • Cost and Insurance: The cost of custom-made orthotics varies depending on their type and design. Your podiatrist will discuss the cost and insurance coverage with you before they are made.
  • Orthotics Prescription: If custom-made orthotics are recommended, your podiatrist will take a mould of your feet to create a precise fit. They will also discuss the materials and design options with you, taking into account your foot condition and lifestyle.

Second appointment

  • Fitting and Adjustment: Once your custom-made orthotics are ready, you will have a fitting appointment with your podiatrist. They will check the fit and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they are comfortable and provide the appropriate support and alignment.

Third appointment

  • Follow-Up Care: Your podiatrist will schedule a follow-up appointment to check the fit of your orthotics and make any additional adjustments if needed. They may also guide how to care for them and when to replace them.

Overall, a podiatry appointment for custom-made orthotics will involve a thorough evaluation of your foot condition and gait, as well as a personalized prescription and fitting process to ensure that they provide the best possible support and comfort for your feet.

How long does it take for custom orthotics to correct my feet?

Custom orthotics can correct various foot conditions, but the time it takes to see improvements depends on several factors. These factors include the type and severity of the foot condition, the consistency of wearing the orthotics, and the patient’s adjustment time. 

Patients may experience discomfort or soreness as their feet adjust to the new support, and it may take a few weeks to several months before seeing significant improvements. It’s important to wear the orthotics as directed by your Podiatrist and follow any recommended exercises.

Custom orthotics may not be effective for everyone and may require adjustments to ensure their effectiveness. If no improvement is seen, additional treatments may be necessary.


Have you got pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or back? Call and book a comprehensive biomechanical assessment to determine the best solution for you!

Picture of Dr. Yasmin Karam

Dr. Yasmin Karam

Dr. Yasmin Karam graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science/Masters in Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Yasmin has had experience working in both private and public sectors, exposing her to a great range of foot complications; from minor nail and skin pathologies to foot mal-alignments and diabetic foot ulcers.

More about Dr. Yasmin Karam