How Custom Orthotics Can Help Your Feet and Joints

March 22, 2022

At the end of a long day, do your feet hurt? Perhaps you have a deformity, such as hammertoe or a bunion. Learn how custom orthotics can help relieve foot pain.

If you have chronic foot pain, it can be disabling. For example, you may develop a bunion, hammertoe, or plantar fasciitis. On the other hand, you may have flat feet, feet with a high arch, or you may have a condition, such as diabetes. All of these problems can cause foot pain that ranges from mild to severe. 

Our board-certified podiatrists Weston Angermeier, DPM, and Rachel Hensley, DPM, of Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates in Richmond, Virginia, are experts in treating foot issues. One of the solutions they often recommend when it comes to treating foot and joint issues is custom orthotics. In this blog, they explain what orthotics are and how they may be able to help you. 

What are custom orthotics? 

You’ve likely passed by shoe inserts in a pharmacy aisle. Custom orthotics are also shoe inserts, but the similarity ends there. While mass-produced inserts may provide some additional cushioning for your feet, custom orthotics are made specifically for your feet and for issues associated with your feet. 

Custom orthotics are made from impressions of your feet, and they can help correct faulty biomechanics in your foot. They can also help reduce pain from a foot deformity, such as hammertoe or a bunion, and they can help provide relief for various conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, arthritis, and more. 

How can custom orthotics help relieve foot pain?

Custom orthotics help relieve foot pain by realigning your foot when you bear weight on it. Custom orthotics help correctly align the bones, muscles, and tendons in your feet so your weight is distributed correctly. This, in turn, can help reduce pain. 

Here are some of the conditions for which orthotics can help relieve pain

Plantar fasciitis

Orthotics can redistribute the weight placed on your foot and provide extra support for your arch and heel. By doing these things, custom orthotics can help reduce the pain of plantar fasciitis and even help to prevent the development of heel spurs.   

Gait problems

Two big problems that can cause foot pain are overpronation and underpronation.  

If you overpronate, your foot rolls inward, meaning you place too much weight on the inside of your foot and first two toes. Overpronation can cause a variety of painful problems, such as ankle strains, arch strains, and even shin splints.  

Underpronation means your foot rolls to the outside, with more weight placed on the outer portion of your foot and your smaller toes. Underpronation can cause plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and other issues. 

In either case, custom orthotics can help redistribute the weight on your feet so you can walk correctly without pain. 


Orthotics can help reduce pain and pressure on the ball of your big toe. And this is crucial if you have a bunion, which is a condition in which the big toe bends inward, causing what appears to be a bony bump to form at the base of the big toe. 


Hammertoe is a foot deformity in which your toe bends downward at the middle joint, giving the affected toe the appearance of a hammer or upside down V shape. This condition is caused by an imbalance of the tendons, muscles, or ligaments that normally keep toes straight. Custom orthotics can help reduce pain and prevent the progression of hammertoe.  

Flat feet or high arches

Research shows that custom orthotics can help relieve pain caused by flat feet or high arches.  Custom orthotics can provide extra support on the inside of the shoe if you have flat feet and also help reduce your chances of developing tendinitis

Foot pain from diabetes or arthritis

If you have diabetes, research shows that custom orthotics can reduce your chances of developing a foot ulcer, a condition that can be difficult to heal. Furthermore, the cushioning in orthotics can help ease the pain of arthritis. 

To see if custom orthotics can help you, call 804-358-9031 or book an appointment online with Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates today.