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Understanding the Different Types of Orthotics

Understanding the Different Types of Orthotics

Foot pain may be a common problem, but you shouldn’t consider it normal. The good news is orthotics can provide relief. In fact, custom-made orthotics can compensate for numerous issues, ranging from flat feet and bunions to Achilles tendon pain and back and knee problems.

At Precision Footcare in Midtown East, New York City, John Jurcisin, DPM, offers custom orthotics. Here’s what you should know about orthotics and how they can help if you have pain.

How orthotics work

When you think of orthotics, do you picture a foot-shaped insert you slip in your shoe? That’s only the tip of the iceberg with these medical devices. Orthotics come in numerous shapes and sizes. For example, they can fit the entire bottom of your foot or only certain areas, such as your heel or the inner arch of your sole. They also come in different materials.

The variety and customization options of orthotics enable them to address a wide range of complaints by:

And, while you can purchase orthotics over the counter, custom options made to the precise specifications of your feet can provide much better results.

The advantage of custom orthotics

Mass-produced orthotics may offer convenient solutions. However, they offer a “one-size-fits-all” approach designed to fit the “average” foot. Unfortunately, a generic, incorrect, or improperly fitting orthotic can make your problem worse

Instead, custom-made orthotics are produced to your exact specifications. To create the perfect device, Dr. Jurcisin starts by thoroughly examining your feet and ankles. He also discusses your symptoms, daily activities, and analyzes your gait (walk). Then, Dr. Jurcisin either takes a mold of your feet or generates digital molds using advanced computer 3-D imaging.

This personalized approach allows Dr. Jurcisin to identify the ideal type of orthotics for your gait and foot mechanics to treat your problem. 

Types of orthotics

As we mentioned above, orthotics come in numerous shapes and sizes. However, they usually fall within three general categories: soft, rigid, and semirigid. 


As you might expect, soft orthotic inserts use compressible materials, making them ideal for absorbing shock and relieving pressure on tender spots. Furthermore, their soft support can also help improve balance. 

Dr. Jurcisin could use this type of orthotic to treat foot deformities that require extra cushioning, such as bunions. They can also help with problems associated with arthritis and diabetes.


Rigid orthotics come in firm materials, such as carbon fiber or plastic. Dr. Jurcisin uses this option to control foot function, especially involving the two major foot joints located directly below the ankle. 

Custom rigid orthotics could be right for you if you have abnormal foot function that causes pain elsewhere in your body, such as your lower back, legs, or thighs.


Sometimes, you may need a little of both worlds. These orthotics are typically made with layers of soft materials and reinforced with those that are more rigid. 

Dr. Jurcisin often uses semirigid orthotics with athletes, because these orthotics help balance the foot and guide it through proper functioning, which can improve muscle and tendon performance.

If you’d like to learn more about orthotics and how they may be able to help you, call 212-750-8344 or book an appointment online with Precision Footcare today.

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