Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ


I'm trying an over-the-counter shoe insert for the first time. How can I tell if it's working?


Shoe inserts come in all sizes, shapes, and materials. They can be soft and flexible or rigid. They can come in standard shoe sizes or made and adjusted for each person.

Knowing if the orthotic is having the desired effect depends on the underlying problem. Inserts, sometimes called orthotics, can be used to correct foot, ankle, or knee problems.

The usual measure of success is relief of pain. Some doctors suggest at least a 50 percent reduction of pain to be considered a success. Some patients are happy if they can do more with the orthotics in place, such as running farther or walking longer without pain.

Try the shoe inserts for three weeks and see if your symptoms improve, get worse, or change in any way. If you need further help, see a podiatrist or physical therapist. Sometimes an orthotic is the right treatment, but a custom designed insert may be needed. The off-the-shelf type doesn't work for everyone.

T. G. Sutlive, PT, PhD, OCS, et al. Identification of Individuals with Patellofemoral Pain Whose Symptoms Improved after a Combined Program of Foot Orthosis Use and Modified Activity: A Preliminary Investigation. In Physical Therapy. Vol. 84. No. 1. Pp. 49-61.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

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