Types of Orthotics
There are almost as many types of orthotics as there are types of feet! They range in terms of how large they are (from simple heel wedges or arch supports to full-length molds) as well as construction materials (soft, semi-rigid, or fully rigid). However, all orthotics tend to fall into one of two broad categories: accommodative or functional.
Accommodative Orthotics: Softening the Blow
You can think of accommodative orthotics as the “new and improved” version of store-bought inserts. Made from soft materials, they are designed to provide extra support and/or cushioning for feet that aren’t distributing weight and pressure properly, or even protect a diabetic wound. In other words, they accommodate an injury or structural defect so that it doesn’t cause problems.
Functional Orthotics: Keeping You on the Straight and Narrow
By contrast, functional orthotics are meant to correct painful function or motion. For example, say your feet roll too far inward when you step (a problem called overpronation). This can lead to pain and increased incidence of injury, but a functional orthotic can help keep your movement and gait biomechanically efficient.