About Arch Supports
Arch supports and shoe inserts are devices that are placed inside of diabetic shoes to support and align the foot and lower extremities (knees, hips and lower back), thus preventing the progression of a foot deformity, improving the function of the foot and diminishing or eliminating pain.
These devices can range from generic over-the-counter diabetic inserts to prescription devices custom made for the individual’s foot and/or foot problem.
But depending on what the problem is, you could need an "orthotic" instead.
Inserts that you can buy in stores without a prescription can provide cushioning and support. They may be made of materials like gel, plastic, or foam. Inserts fit into your shoes. But they're not custom-made for your feet. They can provide arch support or extra cushioning on the heel, around the toes, or for your entire foot. Inserts might make your shoes more comfortable but aren't designed to correct foot problems.
- Orthotics are different. They are prescription medical devices that you wear inside your diabetic shoes to correct foot issues such as problems with how you walk, stand, or run. They can also help with foot pain caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and arthritis. Orthotics might even help you avoid surgery to fix flat feet.
Still, you might not need the prescription medical devices. Sometimes, an over-the-counter shoe insert will work just fine.
Types of Orthotics
Rigid orthotics, or "functional orthotics," are made from materials like plastic or carbon fiber. They're best for diabetic walking shoes or diabetic dress shoes with closed toes and low heels. This kind of orthotic is designed to ease foot aches and strains as well as pain in the legs, thighs, and lower back that you might feel if your foot doesn't work like it should.
Soft orthotics, or "accommodative orthotics," are made from soft compression materials. They provide cushioning to take the pressure off uncomfortable or sore spots from conditions such as plantar fasciitis or diabetic foot ulcers. Because of their bulk, you might need to wear soft orthotics with prescription footwear.
How to Wear Inserts and Orthotics
Both over-the-counter inserts and custom orthotics should fit the contours of your shoe and feel comfortable. A packaged insert that rubs your foot in the store won't get better at home.
Information from https://www.webmd.com/