Many people shell out $400 to $500 on custom orthotics, but a new study conducted at the University of Calgary suggests that inexpensive versions may be just as beneficial to people with fallen arches, also known as plantar fasciitis.
In order to reach their conclusions, the team of scientists measured the strain put on the band of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia. They saw that a simple over-the-counter orthotic was effective in reducing this pressure significantly.
"What we found was that an over–the-counter orthotic reduced plantar fascia strain by 34 percent. This is the first paper to suggest a potential mechanism by which orthotics work," said researcher Reed Ferber, Ph.D.
Orthotics may also help correctly distribute pressure on the foot and reduce the advancement of bunions. Individuals who have bunions, hammer toe or plantar fasciitis may find relief in orthotics or bunion splints, which are less expensive and more comfortable options when compared to custom insoles or bunion surgery.