What are Arch Orthotics?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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An orthosis, or orthotic device, is a device designed to correct or support muscloskeletal abnormalities. The musculoskeletal system is the muscles and skeletal or bones systems that allow the body to move. Arch orthotics are devices that support the arch of the foot to allow for proper alignment of the foot so as to regain things like proper posture, correct body alignment, balance and strength.

The feet are the basis of most movement. When they become painful or misaligned, the way a person moves becomes affected. Often, however, a minor adjustment to the foot can alleviate pain symptoms and realign foot.

By maintaining the proper positioning of the feet, many pain problems can be alleviated. Problems with the feet can cause pain not just in the foot, but in all areas of the body including the legs, hips and back. Foot problems can also cause things like shoulder or neck pain and headaches. People suffering from things like arthritis, pronation syndrome otherwise known as flat feet, and plantar fasciitis, a condition caused from irritation or inflammation of the tissues that form the arch of the foot, can cause heel and arch pain.


Since arch orthotics fill the space between the bottom of the foot and the inside of the shoe, most are made up a lightweight, flexible material to allow the foot to move in a natural way while providing support. Many good quality athletic shoes, such as running or walking shoes, come with built-in arch support. However, if discomfort or pain continue, it may be necessary to have the feet evaluated for a custom arch orthotic.

Arch orthotics are inserts placed in the shoe to support or regain the foot’s natural arch. Many people find relief by simply adding an over-the-counter shoe insert that has a raised area to support the arch. But some people require custom-made arch orthotics. These specialized inserts can be provided by physicians, physical therapists, and podiatrists. In most cases an orthotist, a specialist in foot orthotics, is called in to assure proper fitting and use of these inserts.

Arch orthotics come in a variety of sizes. Some cover only about ¾ of the foot while others are full length and support the entire foot. In addition, there are arch orthotics for just about every type of shoe including narrow women’s dress shoes and flip-flops. Some arch orthotics are specifically designed for the athlete to improve strength, balance and flexibility of the foot. A full evaluation may be necessary to determine which arch orthotic is best.



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