Orthoses, or orthotic devices, may be recommended to support your foot as it heals or to correct deformities.

What Are Orthoses?

Orthoses, or orthotic devices, are shoe inserts that are intended to correct an abnormal, or irregular, walking pattern. Orthoses are not truly or solely “arch supports,” though some people use those words to describe them, and they perhaps can best be understood with those words in mind. They perform functions that make standing, walking, and running more comfortable and efficient, by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes a walking or running surface. Doctors of podiatric medicine prescribe the use of orthoses as conservative approaches to many foot problems; their use is a highly successful, practical treatment form. Orthoses take various forms and are constructed of various materials. All are concerned with improving foot function and minimizing stress forces that could ultimately cause foot deformity and pain.

The information on this page is part of a series produced by the American Podiatric Medical Association.