How to Tell If You Need Insoles

March 07, 2018


(Footcare wisdom from a woman who’s walked in many shoes)


Wisdom is built with experience. Just the same, a person can be a few milestones wise beyond one’s years with the right information.


When it comes to orthotics and podiatry, Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, founder of FootDoctors Orthotics, has more than 25 years of Sports Medicine, Podiatry, Surgical and Orthotic Design experience.


When it comes to ensuring our own footcare, our youth can work against us.


“I know I am intelligent, because I know nothing,” is a Socratic saying we aren’t taught in high school.  In our teens, we know what’s best, and often it’s fashion first. In our twenties, particularly after college, we know so much, and we do know more about many great things. Footcare is not usually one of them.


Neglect became a problem for Patricia, a woman now 82 years old, in her with feet that have traveled an interesting and rich life.


“Don’t let it go,” is her opening advice.  “For me, foot pain started in my twenties.”


Before careers as a flight attendant and nurse’s assistant, she worked at a law firm in the late 1950’s.


“I wore pointy dress shoes that crippled my feet after I neglected the pain.” Patricia explains, “I thought I had a planter’s wart or something, but it was the start of what would become hammertoe.”


She had her first operation to correct a hammertoe in 1986.


“Eventually, I needed two operations on one foot and two on the other,” Patricia said in a tone a soldier might use while explaining the medals on their chest.


“One each hammer toe.” She continued, “One each bunion.”


Patricia uses custom orthotic insoles now. She started with flimsy, over-the-counter foot inserts. Then she switched to a more structured, medical-grade customer orthotic to help realign her feet and ankles, while providing the comfort and support she needs.


“They help me walk a lot better. In fact I really can’t go without them,” she claims.


Then with a chuckle, she said, “I’m old don’t you forget!”


It’s been over five years since she even explored new options. If you would like to learn more about the latest and greatest options now available, click here.


For Patricia, it started with foot pain that went neglected without examination and using inferior over-the-counter insoles.



  • FOOT PAIN – As was the case with Patricia, minor foot pain can lead to something much more complicated.
  • HEEL PAIN – Severe heel pain can also be a sign of Plantar Fasciitis.
  • WORN OUT SHOES – If your shoe soles are wearing out more on one side than the other, you might be pronating (foot turns inward) or supinating (turns outward).
  • SWELLING AND/OR PAIN WHILE STANDING – If pain occurs in feet while just standing, consider that orthotics might be the solution you need (and comparatively much more affordable than potential long-term effects).



  • With over-the-counter orthotics, you can wind up doing more harm than good; it’s difficult for most people to determine the specific cause of their foot pain. If a person selects the wrong type of OTC devise, they might change the mechanics of their gait and exacerbate the problem instead of curing it.
  • Custom orthotics provide superior results, including cases where there is abnormal foot deformity (such as fractures that have healed with a displacement). Have you ever noticed that everyone’s feet and toes have a different – well, everything – it seems? And most have one or more bones a bit crooked or “deformed.” Custom orthotics are superior because they fit your specific, unique feet to ensure maximum performance for you, personally.
  • Custom orthotics typically have a longer lifespan. Think about how much you need your feet. Keeping them healthy and reducing/eliminating pain is worth a little more up front. From healing performance to durability, custom orthotics pay for themselves over time.

To learn more about orthotics, check out our additional resources or get orthotics for your work shoes unlike Patricia (or anyone) ever had, start here.