Have you been experiencing foot pain? Or, maybe, you’ve also been having pain in your knees, hips and back, too? You know you need to do something to relieve your pain. So you head to the nearest drug or discount store to check out the footbeds for sale. But what you need to know is: Footbeds and custom foot orthotics ARE NOT the same thing.

Ski boot footbed/insole; photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Michael Spiller

Ski boot footbed/insole; photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons – Michael Spiller

What is a footbed?

A footbed, which is also sometimes called an insole or inner sole, is the inside part of your shoes that lies under the bottom of your feet. Usually a shoe’s footbed can be easily removed and replaced with special insole that’s been purchased separately.

Footbeds are typically prefabricated and mass produced. They’re made of foam, rubber or plastic. Some may even have a gel-like inner material. Footbeds are designed to level the surface of your feet and help keep them in a neutral position. But they’re primarily designed to cushion your feet and absorb shock as you move.

While most footbeds may feel comfortable at first, they’re not designed to take care of any gait issues you may have that are causing your pain. Additionally, some footbeds may even feature an arch support, but this arch support will likely be too weak to provide any real support for a long-term effect.

What is a custom orthotic?

A custom-fabricated foot orthotic is made specifically to each of your individual feet. Unlike a prefabricated insole that’s made in a factory, a custom orthotic is made from a three-dimensional mold of your foot.

The certified pedorthists, orthotists and podiatrists who create custom orthotics have skill and knowledge in human anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, gait analysis and other foot care topics. So they understand how the human foot should move for optimal performance. Therefore, the custom orthotics these health care professionals create for you will specifically address any biomechanical faults your feet may have. In addition to providing shock absorption, custom orthotics support the arches of your feet and realign your gait from the feet up, helping to reduce any unnecessary stress on your feet, legs and lower back.

A custom orthotic is usually made of molded plastic and fits inside your shoes on top of or under the shoe’s insole.

Difference between Footbeds and Custom Orthotics

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Hans S

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons – Hans S

To understand which is better for your feet, you need to understand the gait cycle. In our last article, “Understanding Gait or How We Walk,” you learned about the normal gait cycle and the movements of pronation and supination. You also learned how overpronation and oversupination can lead to foot problems as well as pain in the knees, hips and back.

When you overpronate, your arch remains collapsed for too long while you’re in the stance phase of the gait cycle or when your foot is flat on the ground. And as you push off your toes as you walk or run, this overpronation puts strain on your foot, causing it to overwork as you propel yourself forward. Overpronation can lead to arch pain, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, knee pain, hip pain and back pain.

If you’re active in sports or just live a more active lifestyle, this is when the difference between footbeds and custom orthotics comes into play. For example, if you’re a snow skier, ski or snowboard boots hold your foot in a relatively immobile position. Since footbeds keep your feet in a neutral position, they can work well for sports like snow skiing when your feet must remain in a static stance posture.

But if you’re more into dynamic sports, like running, hiking or cycling, your feet will need a custom orthotic device that can meet the changing mechanics of the foot throughout the gait cycle. Custom orthotics are beneficial since they can help your feet function more efficiently while your foot is in motion – and in a neutral position.

® Custom Orthotics Biomechanically Enhance Your Feet

If you’re experiencing foot, knee, hip or back pain or you suffer from a foot condition, don’t rely on a footbed to relieve your pain and improve your gait. For that you need a custom orthotic, like ezWalker® Custom Orthotics – ezWalker®, ezRunner® and ezCycler®. These custom orthotics are designed to help support the medial, lateral and trans-metatarsal arches of your feet, providing you with pain relief. The WalkEZStore uses a biomechanical non-weight-bearing casting method that is unique to our store to make your custom orthotics. Our 7-step casting process helps control your hind foot while allowing proper function of your first metatarsal joint, so you’ll have a better step with every step you take. In addition, ezWalker® Custom Orthotics will guide your feet into better alignment for greater stability and control, while improving your balance and posture.

ezWalker® Custom Orthotics can be purchased via the Internet; therefore, anyone from anywhere, can own a pair. These custom orthotics come with a 90-day, money-back guarantee. So you’ve got nothing to lose, but your pain. Try them today!

Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®