Choosing the right type of orthotic is important
Soft and semi-flexible orthotics are two common types of shoe inserts or insoles used to address various foot-related problems and provide support and comfort. These orthotics differ in terms of their materials and the conditions they are best suited for. Here’s a comparison of soft and semi-flexible orthotics:
Soft orthotic insoles are best suited for individuals seeking enhanced comfort and cushioning, especially if they are dealing with pain or discomfort related to pressure points or general foot fatigue. They do not provide the same level of support or motion control as semi-flexible or rigid orthotics, so they are not typically recommended for addressing more severe biomechanical issues.
- Most people find them very comfortable, and easier to adjust to with virtually no break in period.
- They can be easily modified in the doctors office.
- They are slightly less expensive than the semi-rigid.
- Shorter delivery time, so you can be wearing them faster than the other type.
- They will wear out quicker than a hard orthotic and may need to be replaced within a few years.
- Part of the support comes from the stiffness of the shoe they are being used in.
- They are somewhat less sophisticated in how they deal with peculiar foot issues.
Semi-flexible orthotics are often recommended by podiatrists and orthopedic specialists for individuals with moderate to severe foot problems or those with specific biomechanical issues. These orthotics aim to strike a balance between providing the necessary support and maintaining some flexibility and comfort during daily activities. Customized semi-flexible orthotics can provide the most effective solution for addressing individual foot-related concerns.
- They last significantly longer than the soft orthotics.
- They provide somewhat better control of foot and ankle motion.
- They have more options to deal with the more difficult foot issues.
- They don’t rely on the shoes for added support.
- They have a break in period and some people find that makes them harder to adapt to.
- They are made in a lab so delivery time is longer.
While no one knows every nuance in the making of orthotics, with experience, I can guide you through the decision as to what might work best for you. This comes from years of making orthotics and having a good understanding of the above pros and cons.
The variables I need to know to allow me to help you include what type of footwear the orthotic is going to be used in. The types of activities you will be doing while wearing your orthotics. If you have worn them in the past, you will have some idea of how the ones you have work for you, and it may be the success or lack thereof that guides us in what to do for you now.
Ultimately you will have to choose which type of orthotic you would prefer. Its my job to educate you in what is available and what might work best for your particular needs, and application.