Orthotic Insoles

Has anyone ever used any orthotic insoles (off the shelf ones) and, if so, would you recommend them?

I may, ultimately, need to see a foot specialist but am thinking about getting something for the meantime. Apart from pain in the ball of my foot, I get a lot of stiffness in my ankles - not helped after wearing walking boots that pressed into my achilles tendons.

I've stopped wearing the walking boots and am now using sturdy trainers but I'm still finding my ankles very sore and stiff - especially first thing. This isn't great as I'm a dog walker/pet sitter and hobbling about in pain is really getting me down.

18 Replies

  • In a word, YES! Not the things from a high street shop, but sturdier ones you get online. Search for orthotic insoles and you'll find a great choice. I wouldn't be without them. Polly

  • You can get them from a chemist or a place that does feet. I got one pair for £30 and if you go to the podiarist you'll find that you can get free as well. sylvi.xx

  • Thanks. They seem to vary in price so much but might take the plunge. :)

  • Oh yes, the improvement for me is immeasurable. But, I had to have them due to achilles tendonitis - the orthotist gave me some insoles to wear temporariy while he waited for my "custom made" ones to come through. He took a mould of my feet and when they came i persuaded him to give me an extra pair. I have Regatta walking boots as I go on 90 min. country walks once or twice a week and leave one set in the boots all the time. Gave away my leather Goretex walking boots as they dug in my ankles and were too "sitff and hard" making my toes sore and now have the non-leather shoes that are great. I wear the insoles in my slippers, in every shoe I put on. Do wear them as they will give your feet the support they need. As suggested, get the "proper" ones not high street version which are okay for comfort but not as therapeutic. I asked what happens when I start wearing sandals or mule style shoes in the summer. He said to secure the insoles with either a bit of blue tack or strips of velcro to hold them in! Havent tried that yet as still waiting for summer, but sounds like a good idea.

    You may want to ask your GP to refer you to an orthotist so you can get the custom made ones.

    In meantime, go to "Trueform" website which is the brand I have that the dr. gave me - well worth the money.

    Turned out my feet are a bit flat (never knew that, but the RA has prob. caused that!) so the insoles correct that little problem too.

    Get some and let us know how you get on.


  • Hi lynn-bel, was the mould you had done on the NHS or private. My son and grandaughters and a friend have all had theirs done on the NHS but my NHS insoles are just a bit of thin foamy stuff with the arch extra support but it is not adequate. the orthotist just drew round my feet on a bit of card and a few weesk later these floppy useless things arrived. I am just wondewhether to go private. I am 74 in 3 weeks and feel I am getting a bit of a bad deal,assuming I don't want to go walking at my age. . Did you have a gait analysis?

    Just having a winge.

  • Hi Siskin: Mine were on NHS and are great! I got referred to our cottage hosp. due to my bad achilles tendonitis -my rheumy consultant made the referral thinking they would give me insoles and maybe recommend special shoes (which didnt happen but I don;t need them). I didn't have a gait analysis, he studied my feet as I stood up and showed me where I was "leaning over at the ankle". He said I was a bit flat footed and the insoles would correct all that. The temp. insoles were very good and I still use them in my slippers. The custom ones were made after I stood barefoot in a big foam box, pressed down and that gave the impression he used to get my insoles made. So sounds as if you got a "bum" deal and maybe your consultant can refer you again. If you insist on better ones i can't see why they wouldn't help you. This NHS post code lottery must have a lot of truth to it!

    I think the orthotist drew round my foot initially but only to give me the right size temp. ones. He was very very good and the only one to give me useful advice on what to do and not do while my achilles healed (which took almost 5 months!)

    Good luck with it, have another go at them!


  • Lynn, thank you for the very informative post, I will speak to the podiatrist and get her to refer me back. She is very good, she does me feet every 5 weeks as I can no longer reach my feet to do them myself.

  • Glad it was useful. Good luck with it and I promise, the insoles will help. You will have to get used to them at first, but mine came with directions on use and "breaking in".

    Hope it works for you.

    Lynn x

  • for me, off-the-shelf orthotics did not work. The right shoe, though, is crucial. I've had to toss lots of well-made shoes that didn't work and keep the few pairs that did -- and it makes a tremendous difference. My case may be different: I need an ankle fusion and have an AFO that was fit by a specialist on one leg.

  • Lots of food for thought there, thanks.

    I've just spoken to my Rheumy and she has referred me to the podiatrist people at the hospital. Might wait and see how long the appt takes before doing anything.

    I'll never wear walking boots again that come up to the ankle. I've had problems with my achilles in the past and it's just the worst niggling pain. But I got some Salomon hiking shoes and they don't seem to be making my feet feel any better - I still feel like my ankles are being strained.

    The best things I have for my feet are a pair of Padders slip ons - but I can't go walking dogs in them.

  • Good, hope the appt comes through quickly and you have satisfactory results. My first boots hurt my ankles too but these Regatta ones are fine once broken in. I do feel a bit of ache when i walk any distance but as long as I have my insoles in I don't worry - just rest when i get home. I feel so more confident now and if the ankle feels inflamed i just slap some Voltarol on and rest it.

    best of luck with it.


  • I have the same type of orthotics as lynn-bel and they have made a huge difference to me. I wear them all the time and I am able to walk much better with them. They are a bit too wide to fit in my more elegant shoes so I tried an off the shelf pair but I found them useless in comparison. They fitted in the shoes OK but I couldn't keep the shoes on my feet with them in. I think they just made my foot to high. So perhaps the answer is to buy shoes that fit the custom made orthotics rather than try to fit orthotics into my old shoes.

    Good luck and I hope you manage to get a better pair soon.

    Carole x

  • Hi Carole - I feel the same way about them and some of my shoes "pre insoles" are a bit smallish - as you say, the insoles lift my feet out of the shoe. Luckily most of mine are okay (I generally buy Hotter shoes) but have recently started buying half a size bigger which helps without making them too big for me. Amazing isnt it, what all the knock on effects having RA create?


  • I know! I have thought about some Hotter shoes myself as they look so colourful and comfy . I am going to stay in Bournemouth soon where there is a Hotter shop. Me and my orthotics will be making a visit and I will try a half size larger. The only other shoes I have managed to fit the orthotics into is Clarkes Un-Structured which have a removable insole.

    I think my days of elegant court shoes are over unless it is just from the car to the restaurant. Never mind I always was a bit of a DM fan in my younger days!

    Carole x

  • Hi all, as a podiatrist, I hope I might be able to answer this one! You can try off-the-shelf insoles, although you really need to find out if your muscles are tight or not first, as putting a functional device in your shoes to change the way that you walk can cause a lot of pain if the muscles are tight. Also, you'll need to take into account your foot type, and your weight, plus the amount of pressure that your feet can stand - it's no good using low-density insoles if you do a lot of walking and are flat-footed and of large build, but likewise, if your feet are highly arched, or quite rigid, a high-density insole will be too much to tolerate.

    You might find it more beneficial to see a podiatrist first, as they can assess all of this for you, and they may only need to see you a few times until they find a prescription that works for you. Again, we provide various things from simple insoles (the floppy ones!), through off-the-shelf ones with custom modicfications, right up to bespoke ones that we take a cast of your foot for, so it's worth a try if your feet are quite painful when you do more walking.

    Failing that, as a first try, you might want to look into some gel insoles - they're cushioning and slightly supportive, but don't throw your gait out so much. Try simplyfeet.co.uk - they're pretty good for footcare products.

    Hope that helps!

    Sara xx

  • Hi Sara

    Thanks for that!

    I've just got a letter informing me that the podiatrists at the hospital will be contacting me at some point soon so will wait before splashing out.

    Mysteriously, the terrible pain I was getting in the ball of my foot has gone for the time being - but my achilles tendon is still a bit sore/stiff even though I've discarded the main culprits, ie, my walking boots.

    Good info though - and I know a guy locally who is in agony with the balls of his feet though he's not been diagnosed with arthritis. His GP was very unhelpful so I might copy your post for him.

    Cheers :)


  • It is also best to get correctly fitted orthotic insoles that match your shoe size so best to go to a website that has got a big selection of them so that you have a wide choice.

    The better ones are one that have arch supports.

    nuovahealth.co.uk has lots of orthotic insoles that have built in arch supports.

  • Thank you.

    Tendons still no better. :(

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