Although most children with feet problems should be treated with a custom orthotic prescribed by a podiatrist, over-the-counter orthotics are an option for some children, teens and young adults. Could your teen or young adult child benefit from an over-the-counter orthotic? Read on for several great options.
What are Over the Counter Orthotics?
In general, over the counter (OTC) orthotics look like shoe inserts and are placed inside your shoe to add extra support and to help with arch problems. They’re geared toward people suffering from foot, knee, or back pain that can arise from having flat feet, wearing uncomfortable shoes, or simply walking or running incorrectly. Unlike custom orthotics, they are available without a doctor’s prescription.
What to Look for in an Over the Counter Orthotic:
It is best to find an over the counter orthotic that has a plastic polymer or a hard plastic that is a little more rigid than just the typical shoe insole. While the average lifespan of custom orthotics is 3 years, the average life span of over-the-counter orthotics is 6 months.
What are some Great OTC Orthotic Brands for Teens and Young Adults?
- Superfeet–Superfeet offers a range of insole models to improve the fit of all footwear. They improve lower body alignment during daily activities. For teens and young adults, Superfeet manufactures the ‘Synergizer Blue’ model in junior size 11.5 to 13.
- Dr. Scholls–Dr. Scholls offer a variety of solutions to foot problems and conditions. Their products are more tailored to adolescents and adults. The Dr.Scholls over the counter line includes inserts for work shoes, athletic shoes, heels, and running shoes. Men’s sizes start from 7.5 and women’s sizes start at 6 for various styles. Dr. Scholls also has the P.R.O. Pain Relief Orthotics line, which is designed for people with various orthopedic ailments. Their P.R.O. for Arch is designed for people who suffer from arch pain caused by flat, weak, fallen or high arches. Dr. Scholl’s inserts are mostly lightweight shoe inserts offering heel or bony prominences support.
- Redi-Thotics–Redi-Thotics offers multiple insoles of various shapes, sizes, and cut-outs for men, women, and children. Redi-Thotic offers an over-the-counter pediatric line. The ‘Awesome Kids Orthotic’ is the first in an upcoming line of OTC kids orthotics that offer low profile rearfoot (heel cup) control for children whose insurance doesn’t cover custom orthotics. A rearfoot cutout is designed to offer relief from the pain of apophysitis or overuse. As with other OTC orthotics, these are engineered to work with most footwear.
It is still important to see a pediatric physical therapist, a podiatrist, or an orthopedist to address pain or alignment issues in your legs before attempting to grab a pair of shoe inserts. They will have a better understanding of what is truly causing your pain. If you get orthotics without a recommendation, it could make your symptoms worse. With professional guidance, however, over-the counter orthotics are a great option. Click the button below to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric physical therapists to determine if an over the counter orthotic is right for your child or teen.