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Foot Orthotics In Scottsdale

The word “Orthotic” originates from a Romanized Greek word that translates “to straighten” or “to align.” Orthotics are devices that are used to change structural and functional parts of the neuromuscular and/or skeletal system. [1] Custom foot orthotics are a type of orthotic device specifically designed for feet.


Foot orthoses (commonly referred to as “orthotics”) are devices placed into shoes in order to support the foot by redistributing forces placed on the joints of the foot during standing, walking or running.    There are two varieties of shoe inserts: the inferior pre-fabricated “off-the-shelf” and the superior being custom molded foot inserts.

Everyone, from elite athletes to children to elderly, can enjoy the benefits (reduced pain) of custom molded foot orthotics to accommodate biomechanical deformities like high-arched feet, toe pain and bunions [2] or other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, plantar fasciitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) [3] .

Additionally, their literature supporting the impact “orthotics” can have on the foot, knee, hip, and low back.

Child Receiving Orthotics

What are Foot Orthotics for?

The foot has 3 arches: medial, lateral and transverse.    The arches form a triangle with the points being the base of the big toe, the base of the little toe, and the heel of the foot.    The heel to the big toe makes the medial arch, the heel to the pinky toe makes the lateral arch, and the big toe to the little toe makes the transverse arch.    These arches function as shock-absorbers and help us transition and adapt as we walk. [4] The arches are similar to a spring, first they absorb the load of the body as the foot flattens on the ground, then the arches recoil to help lift the foot off the ground. [4]

When the arches are not properly supported in conditions like flat footedness or having high arches, they cause pain and can lead to poor biomechanics of the foot.

Custom foot orthotics support the arches properly so it helps correct poor gait patterns and prevents deformities from worsening.

Custom foot orthotics are a great option for:

  • Foot pain

  • Bunions (Hallux Valgus) [5]

  • Hammer Toe

  • High arches (Pes cavus) [6]

  • Flat footed (Pes Planus) [6]

  • Club foot (talipes equinovarus)

  • Metatarsalgia

  • Morton’s Toe and Morton’s Neuroma

  • Plantar Fasciitis [6]

  • Patients who are on their feet for extended periods

Many people don’t know that custom foot orthotics can also help with lower back pain.    A 2017 study showed that wearing custom shoe orthotics improved lower back pain compared to no treatment. [7] Patients also seek custom shoe inserts for:

  • Hip pain

  • Knee pain

  • Shin splints [6]

  • Ankle pain

  • Arthritis

  • degenerative joint diseases

Prefabricated vs Custom Foot Orthotics

Patients often ask whether they should get custom orthotics or buy over the counter (OTC) orthotics. While it is a personal choice, there are good reasons for custom made orthotics.

  • Fit: Buying premade orthotics are available at a variety of stores, they are quick, convenient way to adjust the fit of your shoes.    Premade orthotics (off-the-shelf) are mass-produced for an “average” foot and do not correct specific problems.    Custom orthotics take about 2 weeks to get but they are 100% custom made to order specific to your feet.
  • Price: Off-the-shelf orthotics are usually cheaper since they are mass produced. Since Custom orthotics are made to order, they do cost more.
  • Quality: Over the counter orthotics are mass produced and the materials—well, they are lacking.    Prefabricated orthotics are usually made from rubber or silicon. Custom foot orthotics use premium materials like leather, cork, carbon fiber, polypropylene or rigid plastics.
  • Durability: Since over the counter orthotics are often made from cheap materials, they won’t last as long as custom orthotics.    Prefabricated insoles for your shoes wear down quicker too and you’ll have to buy a pair each time you buy new shoes while Custom orthotics will usually last for years; so, while custom foot orthotics cost more upfront, they last a lot longer.

What’s the process for ordering?

Our office uses Foot Levelers for custom foot orthotics.    They use precision technology that is far more advanced than others.    Your feet are scanned on a 3D scanner to attain a high level of precision. When the scan of your foot is better, the orthotic fits better, they are more comfortable and more effective.

After your complimentary foot scan (takes about 10 minutes) and a report is emailed to you and to the doctor.

If you choose to order, you would just need to inform us which style of orthotics you would like.

Once payment is received, your custom foot orthotics are ordered.    It takes approximately 2 weeks for delivery to our office.

Break-in period

There is a “break-in” period with custom shoe inserts.    To ease this break-in period, a great guide is to start wearing your orthotics 3 hours per day for the first couple of days, then gradually increase usage by 1 hour every day.

Some mild discomfort in the beginning is common, as the muscles in your lower leg adjust, the discomfort will improve.    Full break-in time could last up to 45 days.

Are custom Foot Orthotics worth it? Do custom foot orthotics work?

A Research study shows patients love their custom foot insoles.    A survey was randomly sent out to over 100 people asking about their custom insoles from Foot Levelers, there was 100% response rate and all indicated that they were satisfied with their custom foot orthotics for their symptoms. [8]

Another study showed that the addition of chiropractic care led to higher improvements in function. [7]


1. International Organization for Standardization. (2020, September). ISO 8549–1:2020 Prosthetics and orthotics — Vocabulary — Part 1: General terms for external limb prostheses and external orthoses. ISO.
2. Welsh, B. J., Redmond, A. C., Chockalingam, N., & Keenan, A. M. (2010). A case-series study to explore the efficacy of foot orthoses in treating first metatarsophalangeal joint pain. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 3(1).
3. Hawke, F., Burns, J., Radford, J. A., & du Toit, V. (2008). Custom-made foot orthoses for the treatment of foot pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Published.
4. CHAN, C. W., & RUDINS, A. (1994). Foot Biomechanics During Walking and Running. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 69(5), 448–461.
5. Hawke, F., Burns, J., Radford, J. A., & du Toit, V. (2008). Custom-made foot orthoses for the treatment of foot pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Published.
6. American Podiatric Medical Association. (2017, January 26). Prescription Custom Orthotics and Shoe Inserts | Foot Health | Patients | APMA.
7. Cambron, J. A., Dexheimer, J. M., Duarte, M., & Freels, S. (2017). Shoe Orthotics for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 98(9), 1752–1762.
8. Duarte, M. A. (2004). Orthotic Insole Use and Patient Satisfaction in an Outpatient Chiropractic Clinic. The Journal of Chiropractic Education, 18, 50.

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