What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are special shoe or heel inserts a doctor prescribes that are custom-made specifically for you. A doctor may prescribe orthotics to treat foot, leg, or back problems.
Orthotics can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address various symptoms, usually having to do with pain and discomfort of the feet and legs.
Jody Weightman, C.Ped (C), discusses over-the-counter vs custom orthotics.
Custom Orthotics Compared to Over-the-Counter Orthotics
An over-the-counter and a custom orthotic, they’re designed to do very similar things.
Generally support the arch, distribute the pressure more evenly across the surface of the foot, and we can do a little bit more with the custom orthotics, but that’s the general purpose for the over-the-counter ones.
The main difference in the over-the-counter ones compared to the custom ones is the shape of the shell. The over-the-counter insoles have a different shape to the arch. They’re pretty generic in terms of who they fit. The average foot they will work quite well for.
They are made of a different material which doesn’t last quite as long, and we’re more limited as to the style that we can use. The custom orthotic, we can use different styles, so a shorter one vs. a longer device.
Both types of insoles are made of more durable material, and the shape of the shells are moer fit to the anatomy of the foot, so they typically have better results. The custom orthotics we do need to have a doctor’s referral to produce the custom orthotics. So if you think that that’s a good option for you it’s best to go see your family doctor.
The over-the-counter orthotics, they are done by shoe size so you can just bring your shoes into a local store that carries them and try them on. The life span is significantly different as is the price between the two of the devices.
The over-the-counter are less expensive and typically last not quite as long. The custom because they’re a stronger material they will last longer, and we have more variety as to the different styles that we can make.
Local Practitioners: Pedorthist
Cycling Shoe Adjustment Accessories
I think most people are aware that orthotics will help correct foot position, but there are some other options that you can actually modify the shoe and the cleat as well, to sort of alter the foot position.
So, one example within the shoe is you can put in a wedge device that will tip the foot side to side, depending on what you want to correct. Or, between the actual cleat and the shoe there’s a wedge device that we can stack, and tip the foot in either direction to correct the foot mechanics.
So, this one is one you can put within the shoe. It’s thicker on one side and thinner on the other, and it will allow us to tip the forefoot within the shoe. Or, we can use this type of wedge between the cleat and the shoe, which will tip in one way or the other.
And this is a third example of one that will help tip the shoe. So, they’ll fit between the cleat and the shoe, and you can see on here, there’s two on this side. And you might be able to see from this perspective that it’s higher on this side and lower on that side. So, these can be used either alone with the shoe, or we can use it in combination with orthotics to get the desired position of the foot.
To get the right shoe and right position you have to see either a certified bike fitter, or a physiotherapist that does bike fits. They’ll help assess you and get you in the right position.
Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist
Tyler Dumont, Physiotherapist, discusses cycling shoe adjustment accessories.
Mike Neugebauer, C.Ped (C), discusses how Making Foot Orthotics