Over-the-counter (OTC) insoles or shoe inserts can be bought from pharmacies, sports shops and foot care centres without needing a medical prescription.
However, in some cases, OTC insoles can be recommended by foot specialists for temporary use while the prescribed custom insoles are being made. These insoles are relatively inexpensive and can benefit all sorts of people – from athletes to people suffering from foot problems.
Most OTC insoles are softer and more accommodative compared to customised foot insoles. They can be made from various materials including (but not limited to) plastic, foam, leather, graphite and fibreglass. Such insoles can be flat, foamy or have gel fillings, being commonly used for cushioning, arch support and motion control.
While these insoles are easier to wear, they may not be very effective in addressing the root cause of foot problems.
Managing Foot Problems with OTC insoles
Foot problems such as flat feet, plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes and metatarsalgia are efficiently managed with customised insoles. Custom foot insoles are prescribed when a person suffers from chronic foot pain, weak foot posture or postural imbalance in the lower body.
Because the foot structure of every person is unique, OTC insoles do not offer the level of corrective support that customised insoles boast. This is especially true in the case of foot problems and postural imbalances associated with a weak foot posture.
Since most OTC insoles are made from soft materials, these are able to offer only partial arch support under full bodyweight. With full bodyweight on the feet, these insoles may not be able to maintain the foot arch, minimising the effectiveness of the insole as an arch support.
Custom Insoles Offer Highest Foot Support
While OTC insoles are inexpensive, they are not as durable as custom insoles and will require routine replacement. The best insoles for flat feet and other foot problems are fully customised and highly durable which last for years with minimal wear and tear. These prove to be more economical than their counterparts over a period of time.
Customised foot insoles such as MASS4D® offer the highest levels of support to the foot structure, aiding in the treatment of foot and lower body problems. These insoles are ideal for all-day wear, including while exercising or performing any physical activity.
MASS4D® custom insoles are created after examining the foot structure, health conditions, activity level, optimal arch position, flexibility and strength of the foot. This leads to fully customised, full-contact insoles that offer the greatest supportive force to the feet.
MASS4D® running insoles are available at leading physiotherapy centres and sports clinics.
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Reference: Spector, A. (2016) When Do OTC Orthoses Suffice. Podiatry Today: Vol. 29, No. 4. Retrieved from: www.podiatrytoday.com
Reference: Why MASS4D® Orthotics? (2016, August). Retrieved from: www.mass4d.com