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Types Of Orthotics And When They're Used

Could your feet benefit from custom-made orthotics?

On an average day, the forces placed on your feet when walking are equal to hundreds of tons, or a loaded cement truck. So you can only imagine the forces and pressure placed on your feet if you are an athlete, are on your feet all day for work, or are overweight. There are so many factors that can impact the function and health of your feet, and our Kalispell, MT, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Esther Barnes can help promote better foot biomechanics, improve certain foot problems, and prevent injuries with custom orthotics.

What are orthotics? 

Orthotics are special shoe inserts that provide support, cushioning and protection for feet and ankles. Orthotics make everyday movements and even standing easier, particularly for those with certain foot conditions or abnormalities. These devices are placed inside the shoes and, unlike the orthotics that you can get over-the-counter, prescription orthotics designed by our team are custom-made just to fit you for better results!

What are the different kinds of custom orthotics?

Orthotics range from simple inserts that you can purchase over-the-counter at your local drugstore to custom-made orthotics that your Kalispell, UT, podiatrist will craft. We take great care to manufacture foot orthotics and modify shoes to fit all patient’s needs and lifestyles. Here are the three types of orthotics to consider:

Soft orthotics

Just as the name suggests, these orthotics are made from gel, foam, or other softer and more flexible materials that help to absorb shock, improve balance and reduce pain. They are also great for heel and arch support, which makes them an ideal option for those with more active lifestyles and those prone to heel pain.

Semi-rigid orthotics

These are a great option for athletes because they offer protection, support, and cushioning. These orthotics consist of a soft material that is backed by a more rigid material, which makes them a bit more versatile than other kinds. Semi-rigid orthotics are also great for flat feet and other structural disorders of the foot.

Rigid orthotics

These orthotics are often made from plastic or carbon fiber. The main purpose is to control foot function and movement, particularly in the joints of the foot. Rigid orthotics are most often used in dress shoes or walking shoes to reduce pain, strain, and discomfort in the legs and even the lower back.

What are the benefits of orthotics? 

Customized orthotics offer a variety of useful benefits for everyone from children to athletes to those with diabetes. Benefits of orthotics include:

  • Improved balance and stability
  • Additional support and protection for feet and ankles
  • Shock absorption
  • Arch support
  • Reduction in pain, strains, and aches
  • The prevention of future injuries and foot problems
  • Better positioning of the foot and ankle while moving
  • Addressing a variety of potential foot problems caused by arthritis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and diabetes


Most people can benefit from prescription orthotics. If you’d like to discuss your foot issues with your Kalispell, MT, podiatrist, Dr. Barnes, to find out if orthotics are right for you, call Step Ahead Foot & Ankle at (406) 755-2818 to schedule an appointment.

Our Location

40 Four Mile Drive Unit 8, Kalispell, MT, 59901

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Our Regular Schedule

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Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

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