Custom foot orthotics typically come on three lengths: to the ball of the foot, to the sulcus beneath the toes, and full length. Choosing between the three is personal preference. The functional part of any orthotic is the plastic shell, which ends before the ball of the foot. Any length past that is only additional padding.

An orthotic with an partial or full-length extension for padding is suitable for those who need some extra cushioning or accommodation for a painful callus. The downside of a longer orthotic is that it fills up more of the shoe, sometimes requiring a larger shoe size. When an orthotic is made to the ball of the foot only, it has all the function of a full length orthotic, but does not require a longer or wider shoe. It is for that reason that this Houston orthotics specialist and foot doctor prefers a device to only extend to the ball of the foot.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.