Have you any idea about the side effects of orthotics? No, we thought not.

Many people choose to purchase over the counter (OTC) orthotic insoles from their local pharmacy without realising that they could inadvertently be harming other parts of their body.

OTC Insoles can do more harm than good

While custom orthotic insoles have been scientifically proven to relieve discomfort and pain, OTC insoles can do more harm than good.

Custom orthotics are a great addition and can enhance a person’s quality of life whereas people need to be cautious before buying OTC orthotics. Here are 3 side effects of orthotics that may stop you in your tracks next time you’re standing in the pharmacy looking at the bewildering range of OTC orthotics.

  1. Ineffective support – Each and every person is unique – which means their feet are unique too. This is why there is very rarely a one-size-fits-all cure for foot problems. Therefore, customisation is key when it comes to feet. OTC insoles have no customisation and cannot provide a person with effective support. Ineffective support can increase your pain and discomfort and even transfer the pain to another part of your body, leaving you thinking that your insoles are working.


  1. Increases discomfort – Most OTC insoles are made from inexpensive materials and the problem with this is that they wear down quickly. As they wear down, so your discomfort will increase. Worst still, you could find yourself in even more pain by choosing the wrong type of insole. Many OTC insoles are too rigid and make your feet go numb. This would make you think that your problem has been resolved and make you reliant on your insoles whereas it has only been masked.


  1. Diminishes foot and ankle function – When insoles aren’t prescribed and correctly fitted to a person’s foot it can suddenly make their shoes feel too tight. Choosing the wrong insole can also redistribute the bodyweight so while your foot pain may be alleviated, suddenly you can’t bend your feet with ease, or your ankles have started to hurt. The wrong insoles can create new injuries because of the impact of OTC insoles on the function of your ankles and feet.

It’s important to note that orthotics, custom or not, are not designed to permanently change your feet. However, custom orthotics are designed specifically for an individual’s body and used to:

  • Reduce pain
  • Prevent deformity
  • Stabilise a joint
  • Improve the function of the foot
  • Adjust posture and positioning

Often a custom orthotic will address a combination of the above. An OTC insole simply doesn’t exist that can provide these benefits and is not designed specifically for you.

Why risk the side effects of orthotics purchased over the counter. A podiatrist can scan your feet, carry out a biomechanics analysis and a gait scan to diagnose the cause of your lower limb pain and recommend the best treatment solutions for you – that may or may not involve orthotics.

If you’re unsteady on your feet or spend a lot of time on your feet at work all day, custom orthotics can help give your feet the support they need and relieve your pain. Why not make an appointment with Cartwright Podiatry to see how we can help you. Book online today or call (02) 8405 6850.