Insoles vs Orthotics… What’s the Difference?

difference between insoles and orthoticsInsoles, inserts, arch supports, orthotics, custom orthotics – it seems like all of these terms are constantly being used interchangeably. We see packages at doctor’s offices, drug stores, athletic stores, even at dollar stores. What’s the difference between these products? Which one is right for your feet?

Some terms are easier to distinguish than others. Insoles, arch supports, and shoe inserts are synonymous terms. They’re readily available at many athletic stores, drug stores, and even grocery stores. They are often the first solution patients try when they are having foot pain or other problematic foot conditions. Orthotics are a more specialized product, and custom orthotics even more so. Depending on your foot conditions, either could be beneficial for your health.

Differences Between Insoles and Orthotics

Insoles have a variety of benefits for foot health in the right situations. They are readily available and don’t need to be recommended by a doctor or chiropodist. They are often made of cushioned fabric or gel to provide some additional cushioning when walking. They provide foot, ankle, and knee pain relief to people with various foot conditions. They’re often thin, soft, and flexible to fit in a variety of types of shoes. Because of this, they usually only last 3-6 months before needing to be replaced. Insoles aren’t generally expensive, running as low as $10-$20 dollars depending on the quality.

However, choosing an insole should be done with caution. If you’re generally in good health with occasional foot pain or other conditions, insoles can work wonders and provide relief. If you have chronic or serious foot conditions, a gel shoe insole could do more damage than good.

In cases like these, orthotics are usually a better option. They are usually found in specialty stores but can be available in pharmacies too. Orthotics are firmer than insoles, made of materials like plastic or fibreglass, to provide more support to the arch of the foot to alleviate pain or discomfort associated with a variety of conditions, including flat feet, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics are a little bit more expensive than store-bought insoles, but may be covered by some insurance plans.

The next step for proper foot support comes in custom orthotics. These are orthotics, so they are made of more robust materials and last longer, but they are custom made for your foot. They must be made by a specialist, such as a chiropodist, to ensure they give your foot the unique support is requires.

Contact McQuistan Chiropody for Your Foot Care Needs

If you aren’t sure whether insoles or custom orthotics are right for you, contact us! We can make recommendations based on your foot care needs and help you find the foot care solutions that best suit you.

Whether you need insoles, orthotics, or custom orthotics, we can help! Contact us today to book a chiropody appointment.