Custom molded orthotics are corrective shoe inserts designed specifically for each individual patient. They support and cushion the foot and improve biomechanics by putting the foot in correct alignment at every stage of walking, running and pivoting.


Orthotic inserts are often very effective in relieving many common complaints including:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Aligning and Supporting the Foot or Ankle
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Haliux Rigid/Toe Pain
  • Heel Spurs
  • Hyper Pronation
  • IT Band Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Leg Length Discrepancy
  • Low Back Pain
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Neuroma
  • Pes Planes/Flat Feet
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Rigid/Supinated Foot
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Shin Pain
  • Tendonitis

For example, a wedge inserted into the inner (medial) side of the sole of a shoe can be used to help support a Pes Planus/flat foot, thus reducing the risk of tendinitis. A heel flare inserts can be used to increase support and help prevent ankle sprains. Heel cushions can help absorb impact and relieve stress on the heel and ankle when you walk or run. The type of orthotic recommended will depend on several factors such as; your symptoms, the underlying cause for those symptoms, your comprehensive evaluation, the type of activity/sports you perform, and the shape of your feet.


Although custom orthotics are considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf devices, they last much longer and provide better more individualized corrective support. In some cases, an over-the-counter device can be just as effective when combined with a stretching and exercise program. Here at Virginia Sportsmedicine Institute a comprehensive evaluation, including gait analysis, muscle and flexibility testing, and a computerized foot analysis is used to develop your orthotics. The type of orthotic recommended for you will depend on several factors including: the underlying cause of the symptoms you are experiencing; the type of activity/sports you perform; the shape of your feet. The following are the main types of custom shoe inserts:

Rigid Orthotics– Made of firm materials like plastics, fiberglass, and carbon fiber; these primarily address motion in the two major foot joints below the ankle. If a foot imbalance is the cause of pain in your legs, thighs or lower back, rigid orthotics generally are recommenced. These are usually designed for use in walking shoes or dress shoes.

Semi-Rigid Orthotics– These act as a balance aid when walking or performing athletic activities. They are made from foam with a thin, plastic shell laminated to it. These devices provide accommodative support while allowing the foot to be the mobile adapter.

Soft Orthotics– Designed to act as shock absorbers and also to increase balance and reduce pressure in sore spots, these inserts are made of compressible foam. They have proven effective for arthritic feet and are widely used to care for diabetic foot conditions. They tend to be bulkier than other inserts and may require extra room in shoes or prescription footwear.

If you think you may benefit from orthotics, check with your doctor to get a prescription and call our Virginia Sportsmedicine Institute at 703-525-5542 to set up an evaluation. It is important to bring in the shoes you regularly wear so we can check the wear pattern and stability of your shoes. In addition bring in any orthotics or shoe inserts you may have used or currently use. Each insurance policy is different so it is important to check with your specific insurance carrier on coverage. We can provide you with the procedure codes to help the process.