ARE ORTHOTICS THE SAME AS AN INSOLE?
No. Most store bought inserts (also called insoles) are fabricated from nothing more than different density cellular sponge and/or foam rubber materials. They may provide some shock absorption, but little (if any) biomechanical/functional control or support. If you can bend an insert in half, it is nothing more than an insole
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED ORTHOTICS?
Orthotics can be very helpful in correcting biomechanical imbalances of the foot and ankle, such as excessive pronation or excessive supination. Over time, abnormal foot motions cause stresses that can lead to conditions such as Achilles tendinitis, bunions, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, Morton's neuroma, plantar fasciitis (heel and arch pain), post-tib tendinitis, shin splints, tarsal tunnel syndrome, as well as knee pain (chondromalacia, iliotibial band syndrome), hip pain and lower back pain. They are also useful for people: who are very overweight; required to be on their feet for extended periods of time; or have a leg length discrepancy. Athletes use them to optimize performance and enhance comfort, and people with arthritic or diabetic foot conditions use them for comfort and protection. Orthotics can help prevent injury or deformity from occurring or halt the progression of existing problems, allowing healing to occur. However, even if no major conditions or symptoms exist, orthotics can provide protection and comfort for your feet, promoting good foot care.
Many times orthotics are covered by your health insurance. Ask the doctor if orthotics can help your condition.