Should Orthotics Be Hard or Soft?

Should orthotics be hard or soft

Should Orthotics Be Hard or Soft?

Orthotics can make a significant impact on your comfort and mobility. You may be surprised to hear that not only can they help foot pain and positioning, but they have the potential to affect your body positively right up to your head!

You may have seen over-the-counter orthotics in a pharmacy or shoe shop. Maybe you have even tried them. Sometimes these can work quite effectively for people, but other times they are not sufficient. That’s because they are not designed for your specific foot shape, gait, requirements, and goals.

Custom orthotics may be a great addition to your footwear. There are different factors to consider, and one you may be wondering is, ‘Should orthotics be hard or soft?’ Learn more about orthotics, the different types, and how the Muscle Joint Bone clinic may help you.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are like insoles that go into your shoe. They aim to provide support to your foot and put it into the ideal alignment. Custom orthotics can target specific areas that may be causing you an issue, such as your arches, toes, or the balls of your feet. Orthotics have the potential to not only improve sore feet and ankles but can help various issues like hip pain, poor posture, neck pain, and migraines.

At the Muscle Joint Bone clinic, we assess and measure your foot and analyse structural weakness and gait issues. We then develop orthotics that suit your feet and footwear.

What Are The Different Types of Orthotics?

Orthotics can be made from a variety of materials. This means we can design the right type for your needs. These are categorised into three different types: hard, semi-hard, and soft orthotics.

Hard Orthotics

Hard orthotics are typically constructed from rigid materials such as carbon fibre and plastic. They provide a high level of stability and reduce abnormal movement of the feet.

As they are firm and solid, they can take some time to adjust to, but once you get used to them, their support and comfort may provide significant benefits. They can be good for people who have issues such as plantar fasciitis, low arches, lower back pain, or Achilles tendonitis.

Some other benefits of hard orthotics are that they are:

  • Good at holding their shape.
  • Durable.
  • Designed to fit into a range of footwear.

Semi-Hard Orthotics

Semi-hard orthotics consist of composite layers. These are made of hard and soft materials. This combination restricts your movement and stabilises your foot like hard orthotics do but with slightly more flexibility. They also provide the comfort of soft orthotics with more cushioning.

Semi-hard orthotics may be useful for athletes, runners, and people with flat feet, heel pain, or an in-toeing or out-toeing gait.

Soft Orthotics

Soft orthotics have cushioning and flexibility for extra comfort while still being supportive. They consist of materials such as gel and foam. Soft orthotics can be helpful for people with conditions such as diabetes, hammertoes, heel pain, arthritis, and bunions. They may also help people who take part in high-impact sports and activities.

Some other benefits include:

  • Relief from pain.
  • Shock absorption.
  • Pressure reduction in footwear.
  • Easy to get used to.

Should I Wear Hard or Soft Orthotics?

It may now sound like choosing orthotics is complicated! The good news is that the team at the Muscle Joint Bone clinic can provide a full assessment and identify which type of orthotic is most suitable for you.

We will consider different aspects, such as your:

  • Symptoms.
  • Health conditions.
  • History of injuries.
  • Goals.
  • Exercise regime.
  • Regular activities, such as work.

Any of these types of orthotics can be worn for most of the day so that you receive the support and relief you require throughout your daily activities. You will need to work up to this length of time so that your body can get used to the new position of your feet. Our therapists will advise you on how to best do this.

You may find you only need orthotics for a short while as you recover from a certain issue or that orthotics will be a good long-term solution. Hard orthotics generally need replacing every three to five years, while soft orthotics may need replacing once a year.

The Muscle Joint Bone Clinic Can Customise Your Orthotics

If you are experiencing discomfort and reduced functionality and mobility, the solution may involve improving the position, stability, cushioning, and support of your feet.

Contact our friendly and experienced team today to organise your initial consultation and find out if custom orthotics could work for you!


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