Custom orthotics are molded pieces of rubber, leather, metal, plastic, or other synthetic material that are inserted into a shoe. They balance the foot in a neutral position and cushion the foot from excessive pounding. A wide range of orthotics are available for different foot problems. Health professionals do not always agree about the usefulness or specific type of orthotics.
Custom orthotic devices may control pain if you have a specific problem, such as an unusual-shaped foot, or your foot rolls toward the arch (pronation). Custom orthotics are available by prescription. Insurance companies differ in how much of the cost they cover.
Before investing in an expensive pair of custom-made orthotics, consider trying good-quality nonprescription orthotics. They can usually be found at drugstores, supermarkets, and sporting goods stores. You can test the effectiveness of several different devices without great expense, which may help you decide whether a more durable custom orthotics would be helpful.