Do You Need Custom Orthotics?

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Do You Need Custom Orthotics?

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an elite runner, chances are you’ve experienced the aches associated with getting or staying fit. And while it’s normal to feel a twinge in your knee, discomfort in your ankle, or a dull pain in your lower back once in a while, it’s also possible that the solution to avoiding or alleviating pain might fit neatly in your running or cross-training shoe.

Custom orthotics, which are highly customized shoe or heel inserts that are fabricated just for your feet, are an integral part of training for runners and all kinds of athletes. They can be a tool to relieve pain, preserve bone and joint health and function, and even enhance athletic performance. Maybe they’re right for you.

Custom Orthotics for Athletes: Putting Your Healthiest Foot Forward

Custom orthotics can help with a host of minor and not-so-minor foot, ankle, leg, and back problems common among runners and non-athletes alike. Some conditions for which orthotics can be beneficial include:

  • Bursitis
  • Flat feet or high arches
  • Heel spurs
  • Plantar fasciitis

Sports Medicine Experts Can Help When Off-The-Shelf Fixes Fail

Custom orthotics offer a more specialized approach to supporting your training than off-the-shelf inserts you’ll find at sports stores and pharmacies. A sports medicine/orthopaedic specialist or podiatrist often prescribes custom orthotics when off-the-shelf options have failed.

To determine if custom orthotics are right for you, the expert will observe the position of your feet and ankles while you perform routine activities like walking. The goal is to note when and where you experience weakness or pain. They may also recommend further testing including X-rays or MRIs to rule out bone and tissue injuries. Their findings will result in a comprehensive treatment plan, which may include custom orthotics, in addition to:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy

Custom Orthotics: Outrun the Pain

If leg, ankle, knee, or back pain is standing in the way of your comfort or next PR, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. With expertise and comprehensive treatment options, including custom orthotic services, you can get closer to reaching your goals. Call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678) to make an appointment, or visit for more information.

Consult your health plan if you have questions about your coverage.

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.