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Common Questions About Orthotics

What are Orthotics?

The term orthotics generally refers to any support or brace designed to help align the movement of body parts and address any number of orthopedic conditions.

At Footstar, our orthotics are custom made insoles for shoes, designed to adjust the way you stand and walk. They can be corrective (to treat a specific disease or condition) or accommodative (to provide comfort and support).

What are Orthotics Made of?

Footstar Orthotics are made of a variety of materials designed for durability, cushioning, shock absorption, and structural support. Our sneaker orthotics are made of EVA memory foam — an elastic polymer designed to be soft, yet unbelievably supportive. Our work boot and dress shoe orthotics are predominantly aerospace-grade carbon fiber orthotics (carbon fiber is a thin, strong, and flexible material found in car frames, golf clubs, and more) — and our dress shoe inserts are topped with a classic, comfortable leather orthotic.

We also use several proprietary materials designed specifically to make our orthotics the most comfortable you'll ever wear.

How are Orthotic Insoles Made? 

Footstar orthotics are made using a combination of digital precision and hand-made craftsmanship. Each orthotic is laser cut from a digital scan of your foot and then hand-finished by us to ensure quality and proper support. 

If you purchase by mail (from anywhere in the US), we’ll have you mail a foam impression of your feet. If you live near Milford, CT, you can visit our store and see how we do it firsthand.

Who makes custom orthotics?

Credentialed pedorthists are specialists in utilizing footwear—including custom orthotic insoles—to help correct conditions in (or relating to) feet, shins, knees, hips, and more. Today. Pedorthists use gait analysis and computer foot modeling to create the perfect fit in a pair of insoles.

At Footstar Orthotics, our team works under the guidance of Matt Arciuolo Jr., a certified pedorthist and third-generation family owner of our business. His expertise, combined with Footstar’s 100+ years of experience in quality footwear, help make our orthotics some of the finest custom insoles you’ll find anywhere in the country.

Do you need a prescription for orthotics? 

You don’t need a prescription for custom orthotics. However, your podiatrist may write you a prescription to help you recover from a range of orthopedic conditions. While generic “over the counter” orthotic insoles can make some difference, they don’t reach the same level of personalized support provided by custom orthotics, especially if you’re dealing with any such conditions (read more below).

With that said, Footstar’s custom orthopedic insoles are for everyone. If you believe you can improve your life with shoe inserts customized to the shape of your feet, you don’t need a doctor’s referral. Just visit our store or give us a call.

Can insurance cover custom orthotics?

In many cases, yes. If you have a prescription for custom orthotic insoles to help correct an issue of alignment, then check with your insurance provider to see if you can get help covering the cost. If they provide coverage, they’ll typically cover anywhere from 50-90% of the total cost.

Why Make Different Types of Orthotics? 

Most of us own a variety of footwear. We have sneakers for running, sandals for summertime, boots for work or wintertime, etc. Not only are each of these types of footwear built differently from one another, they're designed for different activities and environments. For example, runners wearing sneakers need extra shock absorption to relieve joint stress, and people wearing sandals need an orthotic that's thin and narrow enough to be invisible while still providing support.

Additionally, to help address different orthopedic conditions, custom insoles should be made using various different materials and structures. (Read more below.)

At Footstar, we provide custom orthotics to cover a wide variety of shoe styles and lifestyles.

Where can I get orthotics?

If you’ve been wondering where to get custom orthotics — we serve people in all areas of the United States.

If you live near Milford, CT — We invite you to visit our store in downtown Milford. We’ll perform a gait analysis and make a personalized contour map of your feet. Your custom orthopedic insoles will then be ready within 10 days.

If you live anywhere in the US — We’ll send you a foam impression box. You’ll then create your foot molds and return them in the pre-paid package provided. Your custom insoles will arrive at your door within 14 days.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, (the fibrous tissue at the heel and ball of your foot). The band serves many functions, especially to help support your arch.

Numerous factors can contribute to plantar fasciitis, such as: being overweight, walking on hard or flat surfaces, high impact sports, certain foot structures, and poor footwear. Typically, the result is micro-tears in the plantar fascia that create pain in your heel, especially after waking up or standing up. Symptoms usually subside as the foot warms up and the fascia stretches out.

Custom Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis – How do they work?

To properly treat heel pain, you need cushioning to absorb shock and elevation in the heel to transfer pressure. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by trouble with pronation (the natural rolling inward of your feet, which helps your body absorb shock). In this case, an orthotic with good arch support will help correct movement and prevent inflammation.

What Causes Heel Pain?

Heel pain is typically caused by repetitive stress on the heel area of the foot. This condition, often referred to as "heel pain syndrome," can be caused by shoes with heels that are too low or have a thinned out pad in the heel area, or from a sudden increase in activity.

Do Custom Orthotics for Heel Pain provide pain relief?

Custom orthotics can help alleviate heel pain by providing extra support to elevate the heel and more evenly distributing pressure through other parts of the foot. Using comfortable yet highly durable materials such as EVA, orthotics can help distribute weight away from your heels and reduce pain.

What Causes Arch Pain?

Arch pain (or arch strain) usually means inflammation and/or a burning sensation at the arch of the foot. This can be caused by a structural imbalance or foot injury. However, the most frequent cause is plantar fasciitis (see above). As with heel pain, arch pain is often strongest first thing in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest.

If arch pain is left untreated, a bony protrusion may develop, known as a heel spur, so it’s important to treat the condition promptly before it worsens.

What are the benefits of Custom Orthotics for Arch Pain?

Arch pain is a common foot problem that can be easily treated. If you suffer from arch pain, avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible. Choose footwear with a reasonable heel, soft leather tops, shock absorbent soles and removable foot insoles. Carbon graphite orthotics can be especially helpful, as graphite carbon is a sturdy yet flexible material that provides long-lasting arch support.

When the arch pain is related to pronation (flat feet), we recommend soft orthotics designed with a firm heel post and proper arch support. This type of orthotic will control over-pronation, support the arch, and provide the necessary relief.

If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints are common among runners and other athletes. They occur as pain in the front of the lower leg due to overexertion, usually involving small tears in the leg muscles where they attach to the shin bone.

Shin splints can be caused (or made worse) by athletic shoes that are worn out or don't have adequate shock absorption. They can also occur as a result of over-pronated (‘flat’) feet or high-arched feet, because these foot types aren’t ideal for absorbing shock.

How do I treat and prevent shin splints?

If left untreated, you can increase your risk of stress fractures, so it’s important not to “train through” the pain of shin splints. Runners should decrease mileage for about a week and avoid hills, hard surfaces, and excessive impact on the ball-of-the-foot. 

We recommend stretching and strengthening the leg muscles, wearing footwear with good shock absorption, and icing the area immediately after exercise. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

Can Custom Orthotics help for Shin Splints?

Insoles or running orthotics that offer arch support for over-pronation can also be an important, lasting solution to shin splints

Through 3D foot mapping, running gait analysis, and the use of durable, supportive, and shock-absorbent materials, we can create an orthotic that works with your unique style of movement and foot type, to help alleviate strain and pain from shin splints.

What Causes Metatarsalgia (Pain in the Ball of the Foot)?

Metatarsalgia is pain from inflammation in the ball of the foot (just before the toes). It can be caused by inefficient weight distribution across the metatarsal arch, repetitive stress, or foot structure issues.

Why are Custom Orthotics for Metatarsalgia recommended?

Custom orthotics are perhaps the most effective solution to metatarsalgia. Orthotics with metatarsal pads and arch support cushion and support the forefoot, maintaining alignment of the metatarsal arch and distributing shock evenly. Placement of the metatarsal pad is crucial. If it’s too far forward or back, metatarsalgia can persist. Additionally, sturdy arch support allows the foot to more evenly bear weight and decreases pressure on the metatarsal heads.