Suggestions for over-the-counter orthotics?
July 28, 2006 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Non-custom orthotics: any suggestions? I overpronate on my right foot, and I'm looking for something to put in running shoes and daily walking shoes to help this.

This is only a stop-gap measure. I WILL be making an appointment with a podiatrist (the one I want to go to doesn't take my insurance, but I'll probably be switching in six months and can go then). This is just to help until then.

I'm mostly concerned about running, since I notice the problem most then. I don't run much (about 9-10 miles a week) but I'll still want something comfortable. I've seen some stuff on the green about Superfeet, and there's always Dr. Scholl's - any suggestions on a good brand and type?

Thanks so much!
posted by bibbit to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When my old orthotics fell apart I decided I didn't want to spend the big bucks to get another pair. For the past 5-6 months I've been using Birkenstock inserts in my shoes and they work fine. No foot pain. They cost me about $50Cdn. I don't run, but they've held up very well under a lot of walking, some hiking, and a lot of travel.
posted by valleys at 10:15 AM on July 28, 2006

Although I personally use custom orthotics (good insurance) there have been studies which show they work no better than over-the-counter ones, iirc. Maybe check out a running store, where they'll probably let you try some out.

You might also just try getting some shoes designed to prevent overpronation.
posted by callmejay at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2006

I tend to also pronate when I walk. My orthopedist said "I can give you a prescription for an orthotic or you can get Superfeet." He had taken a close look at them and approved. Much cheaper than a prescription.

I've had two pairs and they are really great. You can get "off the shelf" Superfeet inserts but I've gotten the ones that are molded specifically to my feet. In the DC area they are sold at Hudson Bay Outfitters. It only takes about 15 minutes to mold and make them.

I put them in all my shoes. Right now I'm walking around in my Converse All-Stars with Superfeet inserts! Comfy!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2006

Slightly off topic but it is funny that I see this post as I spent an hour last night at a running store called the Running Room. I think my g/f tried on at least 15 pairs of shoes until the right one was found (she has problems with her IT band)

Have you ever gone to a real running store and been outfitted for the correct type of running shoe? If the employees know anything about shoes they should be able to check our arch/gait/etc to determine the best shoe for you.

At least for running you'll be better off to get a good running shoe instead of putting an insert in cheap shoes.

An insert should be fine for walking as it is not as stressful.
posted by cbushko at 11:01 AM on July 28, 2006

2nd the SuperFeet recomendation....they are wonderful things.

Taken Outtacontext:
that would be Hudson Trail Outfitters
posted by ShawnString at 11:07 AM on July 28, 2006

I second the idea of getting fitted at a good sporting goods or running store. At a good store they'll have a treadmill you can run on while they watch (and/or film) your stride to determine what you need.

For walking shoes, I've had good luck with Dr. Scholl's Memory Fit. (Note: avoid the pharmacy-brand imitations. They do work similarly, but are poorly made with a flimsy cloth lining that comes off easily.) Although after reading this thread, I'll keep an eye out for Superfeet...
posted by staggernation at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2006

Ha, ha. Your are so right. It's so hot and humid in DC now I wish I was at the Hudson Bay! ;-)
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:14 AM on July 28, 2006

I tried some Dr. Scholl's cheapies and they were terrible.
posted by scarabic at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2006

For overpronation you want arch support. Dr. Scholl'sĀ® AdvantageĀ® Arch Supports are available at your local drug or grocery store and will provide excellent arch support. Superfeet are nicer, but more expensive and harder to locate. If you are already planning to see a doctor the Advantages should suffice until then. Other Dr. Scholls products probably are not sufficient though. These particular ones have a real arch support, the rest are either too soft or compressible or not high enough.
posted by caddis at 11:17 AM on July 28, 2006

Response by poster: Quick note: I do go to a running store to get my running shoes, and they do watch me run to make sure it's a good fit. For the current pair I'm using (New Balance, forget the exact type), I made sure to tell them that I needed the extra support for overpronating. I'm just looking for that added support inserts might help with, since after running lately the inside of my right lower leg (right above the ankle) has been tight a little sore.

Thanks for all your suggestions so far!
posted by bibbit at 11:21 AM on July 28, 2006

Before getting custom inserts recently, I tried all the OTC ones to little or no effect. Nothing like throwing away good cash.

I found that wrapping my feet/ankles helped a lot with my tibial tendonitis (which it sounds like you might have from your description of where the pain is) and did nothing for my plantar fasciitis.

It'll work best if someone else wraps it for you. You want to hold your foot in the proper position while it's being wrapped (meaning not over or under pronating) and flex it, so that the wrap supports this proper positioning.

Could be a good stop-gap if you can't find good inserts and until you can get to a podiatrist.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2006

I also agree about getting good shoes. You want "motion control" shoes designed to limit pronation. I like the ASICS GEL-Evolution II. The Brooks Beast is the classic motion control shoe, but I don't know if they make them for women. A good running shoe store can put you into something appropriate.
posted by caddis at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2006

When I bought my Superfeet inserts the salesperson cautioned me about the arch. He said "You will feel like the arch is too far back. But it isn't. Good arch support is actually best when the support is just behind the center of your arch." This isn't an exact quote but I think you know what I'm talking about.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 1:37 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Plantar fascitis here, no known overpronation.

I have basically solved the pain with something from Dr. School's for 6.50$. If you have to go with the custom made ones, I hear you can save 3/4 of the price by going through a chiropractor, as opposed to a podiatrist. Mine says you have to watch them, some push the real custom made ones, some chiros like the brand where there are like 6 different casts, and they pick the one closest to your foot.

The resident nurse says the current medical thinking is that generics work as well as custom fit, but this may not be true if you have other issues, like overpronation. It did for me, and I saved 400$ or so.

The PCP recommended stretching excercises for this such as rolling the foot over a rolling pin, and the current chiro is pushing a cold thing, such as a frozen bottle of water. If you do this, remember to tap off a few ounces of water before freezing so the bottle does't burst. (I've been leaving the current bottle of water in the freezer so long, it's now no longer marketed, due to asbestos conerns, I think, but it still freezes to the right shape.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 12:46 PM on July 29, 2006

posted by unrepentanthippie at 12:54 PM on July 29, 2006

« Older Where are the telecommuting gigs at?   |   2 day accidental layover in Sao Paulo. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.