Orthotics for Overpronation, are they worth the money?


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04/05/2010 at 16:50

Hey guys

 Since I have started running in January, I have had injury after injury....i saw a Physio this weekend and he has told me that I'm quite flat footed. I knew I overpronated alot when I run anyway but turns out all this flat footed business is causing me nothing but trouble!!!

 I keep getting terribly painful tendonitis in each ankle which causes it to swell up like a balloon and I cant even walk it gets that bad......i get tendonitis in my knee and now I've got plantar fasciitis underneath my right foot! All because I overpronate!!

 My physio has told me what to do and how to look after it etc but said if these injuries keep coming back I'll have to purchase some custom made Orthotics and these can cost between £200 - £300 !!!!!!!! WOWZA! Could anybody tell me if they have invested in a pair of these and if they are worth the money. I am very serious about running and want to run marathons in the future but cant if these injuries persist! Apparently these orthotics will stop my ankles from rolling in but what about if I just bought normal Orthotics that cost like £25, would they help? Does anyone know? Or has anyone bought standard, inexpensive orthotics??


04/05/2010 at 16:58


Sorry to hear this, it's so frustrating but good to know that it can be treated!

I have not long recovered from Achilles tendinitis and what caused mine was overpronation. I brought some orthotics which cost £25 but have put sponge under the arches on the orthotics to give me the support I need and this has helped so much, there's no pain at all when I run.  If I didn't add the sponge in my orthotics then I don't think they would give me enough support so yes I do think properly fitted orthotics are worth every penny if they stop your injuries.

I hope it improves very soon for you.

04/05/2010 at 17:06
You may get away with OTC orthotics or they may not work for you. I have custom made orthotics and they are fabulous. Some of the best money I ever sepnt.
04/05/2010 at 17:14
Thanks guys for ur advice - i guess I better start saving for those orthotics then! Even though it will pain me to part with that kind of money for a pair of insoles lol when I can be saving for a nice designer handbag or pair of Christian Louboutin shoes lol!! Dammit! Whyyyy meeeee!
04/05/2010 at 17:14
I've got custom made orthotics as well, mine cost £150 a couple of years ago and were well worth the money. They have helped me overcome a number of injuries I had and I managed to complete the London Marathon this year. I had a podiatrist recommended by a couple of people I train with and the service and orthotics I got was first class. Probably worth having a word with fellow runners in your area or asking on the forum for a decent podiatrist in your area.
04/05/2010 at 17:17

 Ive got a set of Sole footbeds which you heat up in the oven and they mold to your foot to give you support where you need it, they most certainly work really well for me.



04/05/2010 at 17:18
Don't forget to mention to pod or whatever you are a student. They may give you a discount, and make sure it's a good pod and they aren't ripping you off.  The pod in my case just made the cast and an outside company made the orthotics so there's some markup involved in that too.
04/05/2010 at 17:20

Thanks everyone for your help - it really helps!

 And well done Frosty9 for completing your first marathon this year! Congratulations! Im truly jealous!!

04/05/2010 at 17:29
Edited: 04/05/2010 at 17:29
04/05/2010 at 19:07
I have recently had some custom made ones by orthotics online http://www.orthoticsonline.co.uk/ they are really good and much cheaper!
05/05/2010 at 12:02
As a podiatrist and researcher I would like to controversially add that from a research point of view there is no difference in the effects of custom-made orthotics compared with off-the-shelf ones in terms of pronation control. Try something like Superfeet or even Boots cheaper versions before throwing your money away on custom made devices which are generally far too rigid for runners, often have little or no effect on the forefoot (essential for treating runners), and are difficult to change once made, meaning you have to put up with any issues in fit etc. Plantar fasciitis generally does not respond well to orthotics and taping is a far more effective alternative. The technique described here: http://www.docfullem.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=10 is highly effective and should allow you to train whilst resting the plantar fascia. As tape exerts a tensile rather than compressive force on the plantar fascia it is able to take over the supportive function of the structure, allowing it to heal whilst you continue to reap the benefits of continued training

All the best with your injuries and training.
05/05/2010 at 20:38
Cheers for the link Touie 2. I might follow that up.
06/05/2010 at 10:27

Whilst I agree with IPod that no research has shown custom made orthoses to be more beneficial than off-the-shelf orthoses I think it is important to consider this in context.  Custom made orthoses are exactly what they say they are - custom made to each individual.  No two are seldom the same.  Therefore in research which compares custom devices to off-the-shelf devices they are not simply comparing 2 types of devices with each other.  They are comparing one type (the off-the-shelf devices which are all identical) to numerous other types (the custom made which will all be different prescriptions).  It's a bit like doing a drug trial but giving everyone a different dose.  Thus, definitive conclusion are not easy to come by (and hence the lack of any really good double blinded randomised controlled trials on custom made orthoses).

It should also be added that alot of the literature shows kinematic responses (changes in alignment) are subject-specific - that is they are not predictable and they differ from person to person. 

I disagree with IPod that plantar fascia pathology does not respond well to orthoses.  If they sufficiently reduce the pathological force in the tissue then they will 'work'.  (As will any other treatment which achieves the same)


06/05/2010 at 11:25

I've been wearing Superfeet insoles for about 8 years, and I find them brilliant.  I had similar problems to you, and they made a huge difference (although I take on board SDoB's comment that results will differ).

Might be worth spending £25 now and see if it helps, before shelling out hundreds on something that might not be any better.

Remember to build up wearing them slowly, as you will be using your muscles in a slightly different way.

06/05/2010 at 13:57
In response to SDoB: obviously there is much research still to do on the subject, however, given that current evidence suggests little difference between custom and ready made orthotics and anecdotal evidence seems to back this up (read the above posts - there is certainly a range of opinions), do you not think it is not worth the OP trying some devices that will set her back £30 rather than £150+? I understand the need for podiatrists to attempt to justify the prices they charge for orthotics but, for me, that is something that I am unable to do until there is both scientific and clinical evidence to back their use up.
06/05/2010 at 14:09


Personally I'm not in the habit of advising people one way or the other over an online forum.  Just offering my thoughts on the research.  Naturally the OP is free to do whatever they want/choose/their budget allows etc.  Yes there are a range of devices out there all offering different things.  All you need to do is find a device which reduces the pathological force in the injured tissue. Alignment (or pronation control as you called it) is not the important thing.

Have you made an assumption that I am a Podiatrist and that my post was 'justifying the prices I charge'??

06/05/2010 at 14:50

I have made no assumptions - I have no idea what your profession is and have not speculated. My statement was based on the figures quoted above that runners have paid for orthotics and prices quoted by other Podiatrists. However, if you are not a Podiatrist I question your opinion that orthotics will "work" for plantar fasciitis. My personal experience and that of many others I have worked with, especially runners, is that taping is far more effective, better tolerated and allows for a great degree of training to continue and I therefore looked into why this might be the case, hence my justification above. The OP is, as you say, free to do whatever they want, however they posted on this forum asking for others' opinions and I gave my own informed opinion on the subject which I believe will be helpful, ie try some ready made orthotics before shelling out on some customs which may well be no more effective.
06/05/2010 at 20:26
Hi CarlyC, I am having a similar problem but with shin splints due to my overpronation and have been advised to see a podiatrist and get some orthotics but the therapist I saw advised me to look into what the NHS provided which I did and found out that my local NHS do supply orthotics for sports injuries!!!!  My GP has referred me to the NHS podiatry service................it might be worth having a look into this first rather than spending loads of money on a private podiatrist and orthotics that might not work, then you can get that designer handbag still!!!! x
06/05/2010 at 20:45


Just thought i'd drop this in to the loop - I had orthotics over a year ago due to suffering with achilles tendinitis, patella tendinitis and a soft tissue injury under the lateral side of my right foot  - I had a gait analysis done and spent £180 on custom made orthotics.  I found that after a year of wearing the orthotics I simply wasn't progressing with my running atall even though my old injuries had disapeared and even after a few mins of running my calves would ache and i would get a new pain in my peroneal tendon and i started to get niggles in my hip/groin area!!!

 To cut a long story short - i decided to take the plunge and get rid of my orthotics after i discussed my woes to my physio - he couldn't see any reason why i should have been wearing them even though i have flat feet and a slight leg length discrepancy.  Also have fallen arches and overpronate!

It was scary at first to be free of the orthotics as I had been wearing them for almost a year up to this point but it felt so much more comfortable and i haven't looked back!!!  

One thing i have done to lighten the load on my feet is to shorten my stride whilst running and I'm now running up to 45 minutes.

 I can see from the threads that orthotics do work for a lot of people but they weren't for me.  In hindsight i would have prevented my earlier injuries by stretching more and having more rest days in between!!!

 Goodluck with whatever route you decide to take.  

06/05/2010 at 21:06

Get your GP to refer you for biomechanics and you can get analysis and FREE orthotics from the NHS, with a reassessment and new set every 12 months. Mine are great.

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