Medical City Dallas

Baylor, Scott & White Plano


Custom or Over-the-Counter Shoe Inserts: Which are Right for You?

If you’re considering shoe inserts, or orthotics, then you are more than likely experiencing foot pain. Your current shoes must not be offering the support you need in order to live pain free. Think about it – your feet support your entire body and with continuous stress, it’s important to recognize that having the extra support can help provide comfort and even alleviate symptoms from a variety of foot conditions and back pain.

However, before you make a quick decision, it’s essential you understand the differences between over-the-counter and custom orthotics. You will also want to talk to the podiatrists at Dallas Podiatry Works about which options are right for you. You want to make the best informed decision about your foot health.


Many over-the-counter shoe inserts can be purchased in retail, or shoe stores, and do not have to be prescribed by a doctor. They are inserted in the appropriate shoe, or shoes, and help support and relieve foot pain. Some common foot ailments over-the-counter shoe inserts help with include simple foot and leg pain. The types of over-the-counter shoe inserts you can get include arch supports, insoles, heel liners and foot cushions. Sure, over-the-counter shoe inserts can provide comfort and support, but they are not a long-term fix.

The good about over-the-counter shoe inserts:

  • They are fitted by shoe size
  • It’s a lower cost for materials to make the inserts
  • They can be replaced easily


The not-so-good about over-the-counter shoe inserts:

  • They are fitted by shoe size, which may be problem for people that don’t have correctly fitted shoes.
  • They are harder to modify to truly support and stabilize your foot and ankle

Custom Orthotics

Custom or Over-the-Counter: Shoe InsertsCustom orthotics are specifically made for your feet and can provide support, stabilization and comfort. They are made so they match the contours of your feet and are designed for the way you move. Some common foot ailments custom orthotics helps with include plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendonitis, diabetic foot ulcers, foot and ankle, and heel pain. There are two types of custom orthotics you can get, which include functional and accommodative. Functional orthotics control abnormal motion and can be used to treat conditions such as shin splints or tendonitis. They are made from plastic or graphite. Accommodative orthotics provides additional cushioning and support, and are used to treat diabetic foot ulcers and calluses. Custom orthotics can only be made or prescribed by a podiatrist after they have conducted an evaluation.

The good about custom-made orthotics:

  • They are custom made for your feet only
  • They are individualized for your biomechanical faults
  • They will help with foot pain
  • They will help with ankle stabilization
  • They can stop lower back pain
  • The can help with balance issues

The not-so-good about custom-made orthotics:

  • They have to be fitted by a professional – but you receive the correct product for your feet – no guesswork while you stand in the aisle.
  • It’s time consuming to make them as they have to be made by a professional – we recommend more than one pair of orthotics so that you never have to wait for them.
  • They are more expensive to make than over-the-counter inserts, but they last longer.


If you have any questions about over-the-counter shoe inserts, or custom-made orthotics, please set up an appointment with Dallas Podiatry Works. They will listen to your concerns, examine your feet and shoes, and also provide any additional information you may need.

"I did 3 EPAT treatments and it gave me tremendous relief from my plantar fasciitis. I highly recommend this for anyone who is dealing with PF. Also, the physical therapist Dr. Brook sent me too is fantastic. I am definitely on the mend and so glad I did EPAT."- All H. 5 star
"Dr Northcutt is a fantastic physician. My first surgery with him (although painful), went very well. A couple of issues (with his staff) needed to be corrected, I appreciated his calm and professional demeanor and he corrected those issues promptly. He sets the bar high (the mark of a great physician), and that is the key reason why I'm coming back to him to correct my other foot. I would highly recommend him."- She B. 5 star
"The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of care."- Joseph B. 5 star
"My experience was a good one from pre-op to post -op. I saw the doctor right before my surgery.He explained the process to me and my husband. The recovery nurse was great. It was neither crowded or chaotic as some day surgery centers. My foot is doing well as I follow instructions. I look forward to my one week progress visit!"- Patricia T.5 star
"I had dealt with a painful foot problem for five months and had seen three different Doctors before seeing an article in D Magazine about Dr. Joel Brook. Dr. Brook took one look at my foot, explained the causes for my pain and set me up on a successful treatment plan. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and exhibits a caring attitude. I highly recommend him."- Ginger W. 5 star
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Join the 50,000 happy feet that have found relief at Dallas Podiatry Works! Our Dallas podiatrist and Plano podiatrist provides 5-star-rated foot care and ankle care. Our advanced foot care includes children's foot care, sports-related foot injuries, bunion treatment, bunion removal surgery, toenail fungus treatment, ingrown toenail treatment, hammertoe treatment, claw toe treatment, neuroma treatment, heel pain relief, limb salvage, wound care, arthritis treatment, safe pedicure, medicures, corn removals, callus removals, wart removals and more.
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