Insole FAQ's
For many individuals, insoles can significantly relieve foot pain and help individuals continue with their daily life more comfortably than ever before. When prescribed insoles patients often have many questions, see below some of our most common FAQ’s regarding your new insoles.

Orthotic Insole Frequently Asked Questions

What are insoles?
An insole is an orthotic device that fits inside a shoe and under the foot.

What do insoles do? 
The insole provides support, correction and protection to the foot. It does this by realigning the bones of the foot and encouraging optimum position for function. Insoles are used alongside supportive footwear to address symptoms of the foot and ankle such as pain and other common foot conditions. There are different levels of support and correction afforded by various insoles.

Insoles can also be used to reduce pressure on the bottom of the foot, where there are areas of high pressure caused by changes in the position of the foot, or reduction of soft tissue. This can improve pain, and can prevent sore areas, and ulceration to the foot.

Are there different types of insole? 
Yes, there are a wide variety of insoles and insole adaptations that can help with all foot conditions. Insoles tend to fall into two categories, off-the-shelf and custom. Both types of insoles need to be prescribed and fitted by an experienced orthotist or clinician to ensure that they are positioned correctly and that the shape of the insole is designed to for your specific clinical need. They can work to correct a foot position when you are wearing them to improve biomechanical function, or, accommodate a position where the foot cannot be corrected to reduce pressure and pain.

How do I know I need insoles?
If you are experiencing foot, leg or back pain then you may need insoles. You should contact your GP and they can refer you to the orthotic service who will be able to determine further your needs.

On your referral there are three main parts to the appointment:
Assessment: A brief history is taken on your condition and any concerns you have will be discussed.
Physical Examination: In the examination, you will be asked to walk the length of the room for assessment of any evident gait problems or malalignment of joints. Your shoes may also be examined for any abnormal wear; therefore, it is advisable to bring an older pair of footwear to the appointment. Your joints and range of motions will be checked, and you will be asked to do a few simple exercises to determine muscle strength.
Measurement/Casting: You will then be measured for the most appropriate type of orthosis (if necessary). This may involve taking an impression of the feet or a plaster cast. Some orthoses need to be made individually and cannot be supplied on the same day; in this case, an appointment will be given to you to attend again for a fit/delivery. Please note some orthoses may require fine-tuning therefore more than one fitting may be required.

What are insoles made of?
Insoles are made from a variety of base materials including EVA, Nora, Carbon Fibre and Polypropylene. Insoles also come in a variety of densities from low to high and flexible to rigid. Your Orthotist will prescribe an insole that is appropriate for your needs.

What footwear should be worn with an insole?
There are several ideal features to look for in a shoe that will accommodate an insole and help with treatment. These include:
  • Firm heel cup
  • Minimum heel height
  • High lace or Velcro™ fastening
  • Leather, Suede or Nubuck Upper
  • Sturdy sole
With the addition of an insole, you may find that you must go up half a shoe size. Some high-street stores also offer shoes with a removable insole, these are particularly beneficial for children who require insoles or extra room to accommodate an orthosis.

Where can I buy insoles from? 
Insoles for foot conditions are available through the NHS. In the first instance, you should contact your GP who can then refer you to the appropriate Orthotic clinic. If you would prefer to be seen privately then the team at Steeper Clinic, are experts in foot conditions and can prescribe the perfect insole to help in your treatment plan.

At Steeper Group, we strongly advise against off-the-shelf insoles that you can buy in a local pharmacy or sports shop for anyone experiencing foot pain. Insoles must be prescribed and fitted correctly for treatment to be a success.

Do you have to break insoles in?
Yes, you should always break insoles in. You should start wearing the insoles for an hour the first day and increase by half an hour daily thereafter or as prescribed by your Orthotist. When you can tolerate insoles for half a day progress to full-time wear. Insoles are usually appropriate for use in sports but only after the initial wearing-in stage has been completed.

Initially, insoles may feel unusual but should not be uncomfortable. You may experience mild aches and pains as the foot muscles adapt to new positions and functions, but this should settle down within the first week or two. The insole needs to apply pressure to support and correct the foot therefore, some redness of the skin may occur alongside use and feet must be checked regularly for any blistering or skin breakdown. If any marks do not fade within 30 minutes of disuse and/or the insole breaks the skin, you should make a review appointment as soon as possible and discontinue insole use.

How do you clean insoles? 
As insoles come in different materials your Orthotist will advise on care and maintenance dependent on this.

Can insoles help with Plantar Fasciitis?
Yes, insoles can help significantly with the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. For more information, read Jo-Anne Moody’s story, here, on how insoles helped her overcome the pain in her feet associated with Plantar Fasciitis. 

Jo-Anne Moody's story