Is a hard or soft orthotic better?

There are many different philosophies on how to evaluate for an orthotic, as well as the types of orthotics that are best. Different materials and degrees of flexibility have their uses. When it comes to custom foot orthotics, there is no "one size fits all" possible.

Most of the functional orthoses that I prescribe in my Houston foot and ankle clinic is comprised of a plastic shell. The reasoning behind that is to provide stability and efficiency to the foot and ankle, the device itself must also be stable. Don't worry, because the orthotic is made JUST FOR YOU from a mold of your foot, they'll fit your feet perfectly and won't feel any hardness when you step on them.

A softer, more flexible orthotic also serves a purpose. This type of orthotic is used for diabetic patients and people who need more cushioning and support to the bottom of their feet. Due to the wearing away of the natural cushioning beneath the feet, the bones become more prominent and develop calluses. In diabetics, this can lead to the skin breaking down and causing ulcers. A soft orthotic, also custom, transfers the weight from those areas and prevents the callus buildup.

Schedule an appointment at our office to see which type of orthotic is right for you.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.