Orthotic Shoes and Inserts

Also known as: prescription orthotics, custom orthotics.

What are orthotic shoes and inserts?

Though shoe inserts are available off the shelf to help with a variety of foot problems, the word “orthotic” indicates a custom insert or shoe that is specially designed for your feet and prescribed by an orthopedist. They can be used to help treat a wide variety of foot- and leg-specific problems or other medical conditions such as diabetes.

Although orthotics may not change a persons feet, they can be used to give additional support and comfort.

What happens during the treatment?

To help patients get the right orthotic shoes or inserts, a orthopedist will begin with a medical history, listen carefully to the problems that the patient is experiencing and examine the feet and how the patient walks. Other advanced technology may be used to further examine the movement of the feet during running or walking.

Based on this data and advanced measurements of the feet taken by the an orthotist, a set of custom inserts or shoes can be created that are specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.

Is any special preparation needed?

In some cases, shoes or inserts available without a prescription may provide the solution for a patient’s problems. An orthopedist can help determine whether an off-the-shelf option is acceptable, or a custom orthotic is needed.

What are the risk factors?

There is a slight risk that the custom orthotic will not improve a patient’s condition or potentially make it worse, but this is unlikely to occur.


Reviewed by: Avi C. Baitner, MD

This page was last updated on: March 30, 2021 02:34 PM

Pediatric Orthopedics & Spinal Surgery

Children’s orthopedic care needs are different from those of adults. Read more here to learn how our services are tailored to address the unique needs of children and teens.

Learn more

Learn more about

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a medical term that refers to pain in the heel of the foot. It’s the most common type of heel pain. Learn more

Tibial Hemimelia

The tibia is the inner bone of the two bones that make up the lower leg and connect the ankle to the knee. When part or all of the tibial bone is missing, this can be due to a rare birth defect known as tibial hemimelia. Learn more