Best Shoes & Best Insoles
Best orthotics for flat feet [Best insoles & custom orthotics for flat feet]
What makes the best orthotics for flat feet and plantar fasciitis? We review the best insoles, the best custom-made orthotics for flat feet!
Table of Contents
Flat foot treatment & how orthotics fix flat feet:
Best orthotics for flat feet & how they work treatment video:
🦶Do you have overpronation causing flat feet? We go over-pronation vs. supination & flat feet vs. high arch feet!🦶
- In this video, we review flat feet and overpronation.
- We go over how to correct overpronation & fallen arch treatment.
- We also review overpronation vs. underpronation.
0:00 What is overpronation
1:05 Flat feet pain & flat feet symptoms
1:24 Overpronation vs. underpronation
1:55 Plantar fasciitis & overpronation
2:17 Subtalar joint pain & overpronation
2:55 Overpronation meaning
3:34 High arch feet vs. flat feet
4:00 Calluses & corns from flat feet
4:22 How to fix flat feet & flat foot pain
5:01 Overpronation running
6:05 Gait analysis by a podiatrist
7:30 How to rebuild arches in flat feet
8:19 Flat feet pain relief
9:39 Flat feet exercises
10:11 Overpronation exercises
11:33 Orthotics for flat feet & best insoles for flat feet
11:57 Orthotics for overpronation
12:28 Best Running shoes for flat feet
13:15 Custom orthotics for overpronation & flat feet
13:37 Best shoes for flat feet
14:12 Best shoes for overpronation
14:30 Overpronation vs. supination.
16:14 Arch support for flat feet
16:47 What causes flat feet
17:13 Flat feet treatment & how to fix a flat foot
Custom orthotics for flat feet:
Individuals with foot problems cannot enjoy their lives well as their whole day is ruined by flat feet pain. You stand on flat feet, do work; you always want relief from the pain you bear from flat feet. Studies and research shows just how effective custom-made orthotics can be for flat feet.
If you are suffering from flat feet, always seek help from your podiatrist to find good insights on the best available orthotics (custom orthotics) in treating this condition. It will be discussed in detail in this blog.
What are flat feet?
Flat feet, also called Pes Planus or Fallen Foot Arches is a common disorder found in people who collapse the foot arches.
- Due to the distorted arches, the whole foot during standing or walking come into direct contact with the ground surface.
- Due to the even foot surface, the whole foot rolls inwards (Over-Pronation), causing pain in the foot known as flat feet pain.
- Flat feet disorder causes the foot tendons to become overstressed and injured along with it puts extra pressure on the joints of knees, hips, and lower back.
Flat feet make it difficult for the body to evenly distribute the body weight, which results in wearing down of the shoes leading to injury in the feet.
- Luckily, insoles are designed for flat feet that provide full support and comfort to your feet and can easily be implanted in shoes for a relaxed fit.
- There are various insoles, especially custom orthotics made for flat feet problems which act as a remedy to resolve the flat feet pain issue.
Common symptoms of flat feet:
Pain is the most common symptom of flat feet; pain occurs due to the stressed muscles and neighboring ligaments.
- Abnormal pressure on the hip and knee may cause pain in the feet joints. These strains will cause ankles to turn inward.
- The following parts of the body will be affected by the body most commonly:
Swelling inside and alongside the ankles:
- arch of the foot
- shin or calf
- knee joint
- hip region
- lower back
- lower extremities
One or both feet may also sense rigidness.
Flat feet may cause an irregular weight distribution resulting in tearing off of shoes unevenly and swiftly than normal, specifically on one side of the shoes causing further damages to the feet.
Causes of flat feet:
Children of a very young age usually have flat feet, and most of us are born with characteristic flat feet. With growing age, the feet arches start to mature naturally when we try to stand and learn to gait.
Many conditions lead to flat feet; some of them are as follows: however, the process of growth and maturation in the arches of flat feet does not initiate, and flat feet stay for the whole life. To deal with this condition, many individuals try exercises for flat feet and use shoe inserts to cope with flat feet pain.
- Traumatic injury to the bones of the feet, e.g., dislocation of bones in the feet due to an accident or fall.
- Conditions causing damage to the bones and soft tissues of the feet like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Torn tendons condition (particularly the posterior tendon of the tibia)
- One more condition which causes the flat feet condition is a tarsal coalition. It causes the unusual fusion of the foot bones together, resulting in stiffness and flat feet. Pediatricians can easily diagnose this condition.
- Obesity or overweight will put excessive stress on the tendons and feet joints causing foot arches to be collapsed.
- Aging phenomenon, as we grow older, our tendons and ligaments become weak and do not provide enough support to the feet.
- Pregnancy commonly leads to flat feet condition due to change in hormonal profile and increase in weight, causing flatness of the feet arches.
- Diabetes also leads to flat feet due to the direct effect on the feet nerves.
- High blood pressure – due to the deficient blood supply to the feet tendons, their ability to support the arch will decrease.
- Genetic factors – genetic factors play an important role in the development of flat feet. Due to the improper development of foot muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons, the feet arches will not be adequately provided with good support. They will not mature, and flat feet condition arises. Genetic flat feet condition runs in families and is not fully curable.
However, if you are not sure about your feet either flat or having a curve, immediately visit your podiatrist to diagnose your condition.
Flat feet and fallen arches:
Contrasting flat feet (people are born with these), fallen arches are developed in early adulthood, most commonly as the result of:
- Any damage or injury to the bone– Disrupting bones or tearing of tendons lead to fallen arches. Suppose there is an issue with tendons (attaching muscles of the legs to the bones of the foot); this will cause loose or injured arches o your feet.
- An ailment similar to rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes pain in your feet. The inappropriate working of muscles and joints of your ankles leads to fallen arches. To deal with this condition, you should visit your pediatrician immediately.
- Advanced pregnancy and weight – due to the increased body weight during pregnancy due to the change in hormones will lead to fallen arches and flat feet.
Diagnosis of flat feet:
The most important thing is the correct diagnosis of flat feet, and a pediatrician will easily confirm its diagnosis by examining your feet. Your doctor will also take a look at the wearing pattern of your shoes. He will order some imaging tests if you are suffering from foot pain.
Imaging tests include:
- X-rays analysis: An x-ray will produce an image of different bones and joints of the foot and diagnose any abnormality within the foot. It will particularly be helpful in the detection of arthritis.
- CT scan: This test scans your foot from different positions and gives more features than a typical X-ray.
- In case of an injured tendon, your doctor will request this test; it produces a detailed image of your soft tissues and gives more specific results.
- MRI: It gives an excellent diagnosis of soft and hard tissues of the feet using a strong magnet and radio waves.
Treatment of flat feet:
While diagnosing flat feet and accompanying pains and aches, the most important thing is to search for expert help. Your podiatrist will deal with your feet and focus on the individual conditions of each foot. Complete biomechanical assessment with your gait analysis will help in inclusive diagnosis and management of your feet condition. Strengthening and stretching your feet will help in treating the flat feet, pain, and fallen arches. For long-term treatment, the use of orthotics, particularly custom orthotics, is necessary.
Do orthotics fix flat feet?
Custom made orthotics for flat feet:
Orthotics are 3-D medical devices that help with the person’s mobility by increasing or correcting the proper function of the foot.
- Orthotics or foot orthoses are a kind of special heel inserts that a podiatrist prescribes. These are custom-made or prefabricated and provide a special cushion and decreased weight effect to the feet.
- Your health care provider recommends these to deal with many feet associated problems. One of the problems addressed by using orthotics is flat feet; this helps treat flat feet conditions.
- With orthotics, you can perform routine activities like running, walking, standing, or jumping with full ease without any pain in flat feet.
- You will experience no discomfort, swelling, and tiresomeness in your feet. There are many kinds of orthotics designed particularly for flat feet.
Best over the counter orthotics for flat feet vs. custom made orthotics for flat feet:
Custom-made orthotics or heel supplements are contoured devices made by plaster cast or a 3-dimensional imprint of a laser scan of your feet. Prefabricated orthotics are over-the-counter or non-prescribed masses formed based on the size of your foot. Foot orthotics are used to aid, support, and correct the foot position with a good weight-bearing state of your feet. Along with support and protection, they help patients treat extreme lower limb or foot conditions such as flat feet, plantar heel, plantar fasciitis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic plantar ulcer, and bunions (hallux valgus), and juvenile idiopathic soreness of joints.
Custom orthotics are planned to modify the function of the lower appendage and foot joints during routine activities such as walking, running, and continued standing to lessen pain and improve the foot’s function and progress the quality of life. The need for custom orthotics has increased intensely over the years worldwide, and the market has reached 3.5 billion US$ by the year 2020.
Hard orthotics for flat feet:
Custom orthotics are considered the gold standard largely; though, the featured mechanism is not fully known. Many types of research on orthotics found that custom orthotics are more effective than the prefabricated orthotics for the given purpose projected thorough biomechanical assessment of pressure relief, weight distribution diagonally the plantar regions, and active balance of the body. Custom-made orthotics are relatively expensive than prefabricated orthotics; their medical efficiency and cost-effectiveness need to be assessed.
How do orthotics help flat feet:
Custom orthotics are considered precisely to suit your detailed ailment, degree of flat feet, mass, and the anticipated activity. Commonly, they offer improved control over other varieties of orthotics; in addition, they are stronger and long-lasting. Their biomechanical amendment is attained utilizing foams and plastics of high thickness, which may seem too hard firstly but with time, typically converted more relaxed. Study shows that in many cases, custom orthotics can cure pain and prevent further joint frailty. This also recommends that orthotic therapy is not for everyone, but experts prescribe footwear frequently with simple instruction, and patients get fit with this treatment.
Flat feet and custom orthotics:
Scientific research has confirmed that insoles help defend against damages in the leg, foot, ankles, and heels. Custom orthotics are beneficial in treating leg and foot aches, so before fitting over-the-counter or custom orthotics, judge both of them and then make a final decision. Custom orthotics are placed in your shoes to deal with various problems associated with your feet, like flat feet, foot inflammation, or pain. Orthotics provide release and comfort from minor pain, but they cannot deal with major problems of feet. Flat feet feel relaxed and less panicked after inserting custom orthotics in them.
How do custom orthotics help flat feet?
Custom orthotics help flat feet reduce the pain intensity, balance the body posture, and align the vertebral column. They reduce the risk of new issues regarding flat feet, ankles, and lower limbs. One of the most effective approaches for flat feet is to support the heel, arch and stabilize the heel.
The exact support for flat feet given by custom orthotics is that they provide the following advantages to the flat feet:
- Provide full support to the feet, arch, and heel
- Upholds correct orientation of feet and lower extremities
- Act as a shock absorber
- Distributes weight diagonally on the sole of the feet
- Improves body balance
- Lessens pain while running, walking, and standing
Do custom orthotics fix flat feet?
Custom orthotics assist in improving flat feet; flexible flat feet (not fully stiff) are considered ordinary and do not need treatment. If there is pain accompanying it and you are spending your routine time standing, running, walking, and jumping, you should consider custom orthotics for your flat feet. Custom-made orthotics are partially hard shoe insoles that provide foot arches better biomechanically during your regular activities by cushioning and absorbing shock.
Do custom orthotics work for plantar fasciitis?
In case if you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or you have been suffering it for months or years, you have consulted a podiatrist or not whether you need custom orthotics or not.
Custom orthotics help work for plantar fasciitis; a pair of custom orthotics of high quality is found to be effective in improving plantar fasciitis. It supports your foot arch and cushions the sensitive heel pad. That is why custom orthotics are considered one of the best tools in treating plantar fasciitis, and it is the top-recommended method by doctors, especially podiatrists.
Biomechanical evaluation for prescription orthotics for flat feet:
How are custom orthotics made?
Custom orthotics process includes:
- Biomechanical assessment
- 3-dimensional scanning
- Prescription by the podiatrist
- Manufacturing process
Custom orthotics get ready in a multi-step process that starts with a detailed assessment by a podiatrist. During the evaluation process, the podiatrist asks how and when you got symptoms of feet issue especially the flat feet. After that, he thoroughly examines your foot; feet assessment typically includes a visible gait assessment.
If you need any further imagining of your feet to evaluate an underlying abnormality, your podiatrist will make an X-ray or Ultrasound image to confirm specific pathology in that area. After assessing your foot condition through visual examination, pathology, foot activity, and footwear, your podiatrist will recommend certain custom orthotics suitable to you. The podiatrist will send your custom orthotics design to an orthotics art laboratory, which accomplished experts make these.
Working on custom orthotics:
The patients are always curious about custom orthotics and ask this question from podiatrists to answer it in the best possible way. The main objective of orthotic therapy is to decrease the internal and external forces acting on different parts of the foot, to reduce the pain and any injury present in your flat feet.
- The reaction force of the ground:
Orthotics work by altering the pressure from the earth’s surface to the foot while standing, walking, or running. They change these forces’ intensity to achieve better foot functioning and decrease any undue force that causes foot injury.
- Design of custom orthotic:
Reliant on the flat feet condition and where your foot pain is sited, diverse orthotic design with specific structures can change location, degree, and effectiveness of force acting and within the foot. These extreme forces inside the foot and ankle are the source of nearly all mechanically associated wounds that we treat regularly.
- Neuro response or feedback:
By wearing custom orthotics, we can support and send back sensory reactions to your brain to prompt it to modify its program during the walk. With these signals, your brain can send the right movements to the foot and progress function, avoid discomfort and avert injury.
Difference between rigid and flexible flat feet:
Rigid flat feet are the feet when you stand on your feet; they feel unweighted. Along with it putting your foot on the opposite knee will not change the shape of your foot. Rigid flat feet individuals prefer low arch height inserts custom orthotics for them. Try to buy custom orthotics that suit your feet’ condition, either soft or rigid orthotics.
Flexible flat feet stay flat while you are standing on them but form an arch when unweighted. When you put over your foot on the other leg, there is the formation of an arch. People having flexible flat feet prefer medium arch height orthotics for them.
The best custom orthotics for flat feet will have:
- Low and supportive arch.
- Heel stabilization arch.
The best thing you can do for your flat feet is diagnosed that you have flexible or rigid feet and which custom orthotics can best fit you. Best custom orthotics always help in relieving your foot pain and make you comfortable.
How much do custom orthotics cost for flat feet?
Custom orthotics are recognized notorious due to the diverse price choices. People suffering from flat feet and ankle pain or other feet issues try to seek help from custom orthotics if prefabricated or over-the-counter orthotics failed to provide necessary support and relief from the pain. Whenever you visit your podiatrist, you must keep in mind the price of custom orthotics to avoid any shock. After all, an average person cannot afford too much costly custom orthotics. It would be best to choose wisely a specific custom orthotic suitable to your foot in an affordable price range.
Some of the basics of buying custom orthotics:
Whenever you visit a podiatrist, always keep these things in your mind.
- Custom orthotics range anywhere between 200$-800$; your visit and consultation also add up to the total cost of custom orthotics.
- When podiatrists give you the final diagnostic advice of custom orthotics, you must consider the final fee of custom orthotics to be a complete total of all the smaller fee services accumulated in the whole orthotic diagnosis and treatment regimen.
- The overall fees of orthotics treatment vary from doctor to doctor; the difference in the cost is brought about by the discrepancies in the biomechanical exam, material quality, and casting process, among other charges.
- Most doctors do not charge an actual fee for the treatment; they quote an entire treatment cost. The program comprises visual gait analysis, biomechanical exam, orthotic devices fee, and a fee of the negative impression casts.
- Always seek a confirmatory diagnosis from a specialist or podiatrist for custom orthotics. Many patients with flat feet think that custom orthotics can resolve their problem; in this case, over-the-counter insoles or other alternatives can be effective for certain foot problems. But it is vital to always consult your podiatrists for professional input by him to solve your foot problems.
- After long use of custom orthotics, the plastic or other material used in it will tear out, which means you have to buy a new pair of custom orthotics. Over a prolonged period, the cost will add up to a big number.
How can you keep your orthotics fresh?
Custom orthotics can provide many benefits such as cushioning and supporting effect to your feet, alleviating pain in your foot and leg. Custom orthotics are prescribed for various issues like bursitis, foot ulcers, plantar fasciitis, and tendinitis. Clinical research shows that foot inserts and custom orthotics decrease pain in the feet and improve the functional anatomy of feet.
With a lot of health benefits provided by custom orthotics, there are some problems with them too. It is a natural phenomenon that, over time, the custom orthotics will get smelly if they are not kept smell fresh.
- Try to avoid them from the too wet condition.
- If they got wet, try to remove them from the shoes immediately
- If they come in contact with water, dry them with a good quality towel and leave your orthotics in a good ventilated area
- Try to lay your custom orthotics flat to dry
- Allow plenty of time to get dry; shoe inserts require several days for complete dry depending on their making material.
- Leaving wet orthotics in your shoes may decrease their efficiency of work
Replacement of custom orthotics: How do you use and wear your custom orthotics makes the expected lifespan of custom orthotics or shoe inserts. You will think about changing your custom orthotics every three to nine months to enjoy the true benefits of custom orthotics.
Factors affecting the lifespan of custom orthotics:
Custom orthotics or shoe inserts are made to enjoy the whole life; orthotics aims to give you as full comfort with full use of custom orthotics as possible. But some constant factors can be used to determine whether your orthotics are in good health as expected or in poor condition.
These consist of:
- Building materials: Custom orthotics made from a partially rigid material like graphite are long-lasting than orthotics made from soft and squishy material.
- How often you use them in your routine: Most of the time, the patients are advised to wear orthotics all the time. If you are wearing them on and off in a week, they’ll be long-lasting. Though some of them need to wear them for certain activities, you may have different orthotics for different types of shoes.
- Routine lifestyle: The people involved in standing, walking, or running activity, will tear off their orthotics sooner than those with a sedentary lifestyle.
- Your body formation: different body formations will put a different strain on the custom orthotics; a young stout person will put more pressure on the orthotics than a slim lady of 30 years.
- Major life events and medical history: In the formation of custom orthotics, not only the specific shape is under consideration, but a special set of gait procedures is also set. Major life events like pregnancy, any accidental injury are also considered, and it may alter your custom orthotics to a new one of your required needs.
- With time: As discussed above, life events can alter your orthotics; similarly, with time, your feet may change a little due to the aging process. Therefore, there is a need to re-cast and replace your custom orthotics or shoe inserts, even if they remain the same in original condition.
Signs showing to replace or repair your custom orthotics:
Many signs show that you need to replace or repair your orthotics, but the most warning sign is pain. If you suddenly feel a huge, flashing pain in your feet, though previously your orthotics are working well, you need to replace your orthotic as early as possible. It would be best if you inspected your orthotic regularly for any signs of damage in your orthotic. Small damage or stain in your orthotic is not a sign of great worry, but if there are large changes like material warping, cracking, or any other change, you must consult your podiatrist.
You must be extra attentive if you are going through certain life events
- Going through medical changes, pregnancy, operation, or accidental injury.
- Making lifestyle changes like change in exercise
- Gaining or losing your body weight
So, consider these factors, as they can be the precursors of replacing or adjusting your custom orthotics.
When to see a podiatrist for custom orthotics for flat feet?
If someone wants an extra cushioning and supporting effect, firstly, they must try over-the-counter inserts designed for the flat feet. If you are suffering from serious pain or distress in your routine life, you should book an appointment with a podiatrist in your immediate vicinity. Podiatrists are highly trained and experienced persons, and they assess the biomechanical history of your lower limb. A good podiatrist will evaluate your general body condition and look for any other serious contributive factor in the cause of pain. They will examine your legs, feet, and heels and judge your gait to make a diagnosis, will listen to all the necessary details of your complaint, and evaluate the function of lower body parts. Some specialists also use innovative tools like Ultrasound and an X-ray specifically designed to see and assess any abnormality within your body. Your podiatrist will gather all the information and make a confirmatory diagnosis with a degree of problem. He will take a 3-D image of your feet and prescribe custom orthotics of individual needs that might help relieve the body foot pain if necessary. The pictures taken by your podiatrist and all the measurements obtained help create a pair of unique custom orthotics that will recover your movement and provides more comfort and stability to your flat feet. Your podiatrist will also suggest supplementary treatments to function your feet better.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do Dr. Scholl’s orthotics for flat feet work?
In our opinion, there are more cost-effective orthotics for flat feet than Dr. Scholl’s orthotics for flat feet. Generally, these are more expensive and less effective than other best otc orthotics for flat feet.
Do Dr. Scholl’s custom fit orthotics for flat feet help?
In our opinion, as mentioned above, No. We believe they are not the best option for most people for flat foot pain, bunion pain, or plantar fasciitis.
Where to buy orthotics for flat feet & the best foot orthotics for flat feet?
Do Birkenstock orthotics for flat feet help?
We wrote an entire article on Birkenstock orthotics for flat feet. We go over Birkenstock orthotics in detail for both the left and the right foot.
What are the best orthotic slippers for flat feet:
Here we review the best orthotic slippers for flat feet:
What are the best orthotic inserts for flat feet & best orthotic insoles for flat feet?
What makes for the best sports orthotics for flat feet?
- Sports orthotics can generally be softer and less rigid depending on the sport.
- Specifically for people who play jumping and running sports, it may not always be the best idea to have a hard orthotic for those sports.
- We prefer more aggressive rigid orthotics for walking and standing activities.
What are the best orthotic flip flops for flat feet?
Here we review our favorite orthotic flip flops for flat feet:
- Click here for the best women’s orthotic flip flops for flat feet.
- Click here for the best men’s orthotic flip flops for flat feet.
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