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Inserts vs Orthotics: What's the Difference?

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

We've all experienced some level of foot pain at one point or another in our lives. With so many different insoles and inserts available on the market, it's easy to grab a quick fix without realizing the benefits of orthotics. Whether you suffer from plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or other foot issues, understanding the difference between inserts and orthotics is crucial for proper foot care.

Inserts are designed to provide extra cushioning and support for your feet to alleviate pain. Over-the-counter inserts are inexpensive and readily available at almost any drugstore. They can provide a quick fix for those with minor foot issues. However, they don't address the root cause of the issue and can even cause more harm if used incorrectly. Inserts can also be easily slipped into any shoe, making them convenient for those on the go.


Orthotics, on the other hand, are custom-made to correct foot problems. They are prescription medical devices that are designed to alter the biomechanics of the foot and improve overall foot function. Orthotics are made by qualified professionals who assess your individual foot structure, and work to correct postural imbalances that cause pain. Orthotics are much different from inserts as they work to address the root cause of the foot problem. They are typically made of more rigid materials that will not compress over time to give the support your feet require.


If you're experiencing chronic foot pain or have any foot-related conditions, it's important that you seek medical advice. Seeing a podiatrist is the best route to determine if you need orthotics or inserts. A podiatrist can check for overpronation, flat feet, high arches, and other conditions. They can help you find the best orthotic for your specific foot condition, which can help alleviate pain, improve stability when walking and running, and prevent further injuries. Plus, they may cost less than store-bought products because a doctor’s office will accept most medical insurance and Medicare.


Understanding the fundamental difference between inserts and orthotics can have a significant impact on the care of your feet. While inserts are easy to use and can provide temporary relief, they may not be the best long-term solution for correcting foot problems. Orthotics, on the other hand, are designed to correct foot disorders and provide long-term relief. Before investing in any foot product, it’s imperative to consult your podiatrist, who can help in choosing the best-suited product for you. So, why overpay for a shoe or insert that isn't fixing the underlying problem? Come see us for professional advice on the benefits of orthotics and enhance your quality of life!

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