If you’re experiencing pain in your arch or other areas of your foot, finding a good shoe insert may be one way to provide necessary support. Arch supports, as these inserts are commonly known, range from inserts you can buy over-the-counter to highly specific prescription orthotics. They can give relief to arch pain by supporting the foot, providing a rest for problem or overstressed areas, and aligning the foot into its proper place. Depending on the cause of discomfort, this alignment can extend upward, making the legs, hips and lower back all function a little better. Because he or she will be able to help determine the cause of the pain in your foot, your podiatrist can help you find out which of the many options available may be best for you.

Sometimes doing something as simple as changing your shoe for a specific activity may provide the support your foot needs. Read up on what shoes are best for the physical activities you perform the most (particularly if you engage in the activity three or more times per week). Different shoes will offer different types of support, tailored to the way your foot moves (or shouldn’t move) during a given sport or other activity.

Although it may be kind of odd to think of getting a prescription for a shoe insert, orthotics might be your best choice if you are suffering from a long-term or more severe condition, such as abnormally low or high arches, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis and turf toe, or other problems. Again, your podiatrist will work with you to determine how your foot needs to be supported, and how orthotics can correct the imbalances and improve the function of your foot.