Custom Foot Orthotics; Are They Right For You?

By Gregg Fuhrman, MPT, OCS, CFMT, CSCS originally posted on March 5, 2010 1:54 AM

Custom Orthotics for your feet

In our last article, we discussed the problem of sore feet, sore heels, and plantar fasciitis. This month’s topic will deal with the use and need for custom made foot orthotics and their role in treating foot and heel pain.

A custom orthotic is specifically designed foot bed that goes into your shoe to replace the insole or liner the shoe came with originally.  In some cases, as is the case with soccer cleats, the orthotic slides directly into the shoe, and the athlete’s foot is in direct contact with the orthotic device.  The goal of the orthotic is to control, cushion, and better support the athlete’s foot in the shoe to improve foot, ankle, leg and total body function.  The concept is that when the foot is in a better alignment, the athlete will function better and have less stress on their body.

A custom orthotic is one in which the orthotic device is created specifically for the individual patient or athlete.  Patients and athletes are typically evaluated in physical therapy to assess their standing posture, gait or running form (digital video analysis on a treadmill), strength and lower extremity control with functional tests designed to mimic the sports performance.  From here, the patient or athlete is measured in full weight bearing and non-weight bearing positions to assess foot and ankle alignment.  Finally, plaster slipper casts are made of the athlete’s feet in a non-weight bearing, neutral alignment position.  From this data and the casts, custom orthotics are created for the athlete.

Many soccer players benefit from the use of a custom orthotic to help alleviate foot, ankle, knee, and hip pain caused by poor foot control or alignment.  Soccer cleats, for the most part, do not have any significant arch support or built-in control for foot motion like most running shoes do.  The role of the custom orthotic in these shoes is to provide better support and control for the athletes foot and ankle, and reduce stress on these structures.

The orthotic devices we prescribe for our patients and athletes are a low profile device and are designed specifically for soccer cleats.  The soccer orthotic sits low in the shoe so the athlete’s foot is not jammed in the shoe or pushed out of the top of the shoe.  Also, there is a specific cut our on the orthotic for the athlete’s big toe to be in contact with the shoe to allow better push-off for sprinting and cutting.

Custom orthotics are as individual to the patient or athlete as their fingerprints—no two pair of orthotics are alike, and there is NOT a one-size-fits-all design custom orthotic.  Your individual orthotics are made just for you; a custom fit that you will not be able to achieve with any off-the-shelf product.

If you have any questions on the use orthotics for soccer, foot pain, daily use, or any other athletic activity, please feel free to call our clinics and we would be happy to discuss your questions with you.  Call to make your appointment today to get casted for custom orthotics.  You can reach our Body Mechanics downtown Milwaukee clinic at 414.224-8219, or our Body Mechanics Pewaukee clinic at 262.695-3057.

bodymechanics locations

731 N. Jackson  | Suite 800
Milwaukee, WI 53202  (map)

1177 Quail Court | Suite 200
Pewaukee, WI 53072  (map)