| A Look at Different Types of Orthotics in Arizona
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A Look at Different Types of Orthotics in Arizona

A Look at Different Types of Orthotics in Arizona

Orthotics identifies a class of device that helps to support and cushion the foot, such as shoe inserts and cushioned insoles. Orthotics help to restore the proper foot biomechanics and can help to relieve hip, knee, and lower back pain because these pains are often caused by foot issues and a condition called over-pronation, characterized by an inward rotation of the foot and ankle.

A specific definition of orthotics can be found in the 25th edition of Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary: “An orthopedic appliance or apparatus used to support, align, prevent, or correct deformities or to improve the function of the movable parts of the body.”

Insoles that come with shoes, or inserts that can generally be purchased at retail, are designed to absorb shock, support the arch, and cushion the foot, but they are not designed to overcome over-pronation. They are orthotics however, and may be thought of as “over-the-counter” orthotic devices. These devices are designed for the mass market, are partially adjustable, but are meant to appeal to the mass market and fit as many people as possible.

Both types of orthotics provide a cushioning effect and help take the pressure off of spots in the feet that tend to be sore because they are overused such as the heels, bunions, and balls of the feet. Because of the way they are shaped, prescription orthotics realign the foot and ankle to retrain the foot into its proper function.

Prescription Orthotics

The prescription type of orthotic devices, or orthoses, is specifically and individually designed to overcome the inward rotation of the foot and arch. They are classified into two main types: functional and accommodative. Functional orthoses alter the way the bones and joints move in the foot while involved in walking or running activities. Accommodative orthoses are used to change the way loads are borne on the plantar or arch portion of the foot while walking or running.

Prescription orthotics are always designed to resolve a problem of the feet, such as flat foot, heel pain, over-pronation, over-supination. Flat foot is a condition in which the entire bottom of the foot comes into contact with the ground because the arch has collapsed. Orthotics designed to correct this condition have a built-in arch to lift the arch back up into a more natural position.

Orthotic devices that are intended to overcome heel pain attempt to treat the pain through cushioning and also the underlying cause of the heel pain, whether it’s plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, or bone spurs.

Orthotic devices built to ease over-pronation and over-supination (rolling of the foot and ankle to the outside while walking or running) can sometimes be treated with prescription orthotics, but there are certain causes of supination, such as reduced ankle mobility, that cannot be treated with orthotics designed to compensated for over or under-supination.

Orthotics come in many flavors which help people with foot problems overcome them and continue living and walking normally. Runners and others who put extreme loads on their feet are often the most susceptible to foot problems and most likely to need orthotic devices.


Oasis Foot and Ankle offers orthotic specialists in Phoenix and Scottsdale, who will perform a gait analysis and prescribe custom orthotics. Often times people who have had chronic pain for years end up pain free within a day of receiving the prescription orthotics!

If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic foot pain in Phoenix or Scottsdale, call us today.


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