Vital Force Physio


Orthotics: Do You Need Them?

June 28, 2024

Orthotics or foot inserts are commonly used to help optimize the position of the foot in an athlete’s shoes for decreased pain and improved mechanics.

Do Orthotics Work and Are They Really Necessary?

This is a common question we get in our performance physical therapy clinic. Our answer almost always is “well, it depends.”

For example, a shoe orthotic known as a heel lift can be effective in temporarily decreasing the tension on the achilles tendon. This can be beneficial for athletes suffering from achilles tendinitis, Sever’s Disease, plantar fasciitis and other conditions of the lower leg. Additionally, arch supports can assist the muscles of the foot responsible for maintaining the position in the arch while running. Often, runners have pain due to the muscles of the arch being weakened or overused. Arch supports decrease irritation of the painful structures while the athlete recovers.

As performance physical therapists we believe that the use of orthotics for these acute muscle and tendon conditions can be a nice adjunct to a rehab program. However, they are not the entirety of the program. It is important to address the root cause of why the athlete is having pain and to increase the capacity of the injured structures in combination with exercise therapy. 

Another indication for use of orthotics is if you like them! If it feels good in your shoes, you feel increased support, or you think it improves your performance, then go ahead and put them in your shoes. Comfort is one of the most important factors for athletic and human performance.

Make sure you find what works best for you and with the help of a performance physical therapist you can be sure that you will stay on the field, and in the gym stronger and healthier than ever.


Move Stronger,


Dr. Bryan Vranic, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L1

Performance Physical Therapist, Vital Force Physio


This is not intended to be medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. Please consult your Physical Therapist, Physician or Healthcare Provider before starting any new exercise program.


Koc TA Jr, Bise CG, Neville C, Carreira D, Martin RL, McDonough CM. Heel Pain – Plantar Fasciitis: Revision 2023. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2023;53(12):CPG1-CPG39. doi:10.2519/jospt.2023.0303

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