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Do Orthotics Really Help?

Are there really any beneifts to placing an orthotic in your shoe? This is an extremely debatable topic but we have seen the literature as well as a high percentage of anecdotal evidence steer us away from their use.  In my practice, very rarely do I use orthotics for runners. Even patients presenting with plantar fasciitis typically aren’t being prescribed orthotics.  Using orthotics for plantar fasciitis is really just a simple way for a practitioner to “try” something to relieve the pain.  In fact, we are all taught that you need to find a biomechanical abnormality to implement an orthotic device and not just use the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis as a reason.  Many will argue that biomechinal abnormalities exist in all of us and there are benefits to correcting them.  This is really a misnomer. We all have variants of foot types and over time experts on biomechacis have taken these variants and small differences in foot types and classified them as “abnormal”.  Orthotics were then prescribed to “correct” these abnormal biomechanics with the goal of fixing an injury or ailment.

The question is, does it really make a difference?  The short answer is probably not.  While some may see benefits from wearing them, the reality is they’re most likely just changing the way you walk enough to allow your body to fix itself.  More often than not, removing the orthotics after wearing them for a short period of time could fix your problem and you would not be married to these uncomfortable pieces of plastic as they have become known.

True abnormalities may respond to an orthotics device, especially those that cross the ankle joint and really have a tremendous effect on controlling the subtalar joint (joint immediately below the ankle which is part of the motion involved with pronation).  These abnormalities are rare and require more attention then an over-the-coutner orthotic device.

Do orthotics, those inserts that athletes and others slip in their shoes, prevent injuries and improve alignment?

Source: Do Orthotics Really Help?

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