09 Jun To Insole or Not to Insole (that is the question)
There is no doubt that there is not a straight answer to this question. In my opinion insoles are over prescribed in the Western population. Instead of looking to improve foot function or even footwear we are very quick to reach for an insole. The truth is that many of the foot issues we see in clinic are only prominent in Western countries. We are squeezing our feet into shoes that are too tight at the toe box and don’t allow for toe spread. Don’t get me started on high heels or stilettos! Alongside this, we are leading increasingly sedentary lives with many people sitting for the majority of each day.This leads to a multitude of foot issues including decreased blood supply to the plantar fascia, bunions, plantar fasciitis etc The truth is we don’t see these issues in countries who are barefoot and active. We can start to improve foot function in clinic and many of these foot issues can be reversed. That being said- you must be prepared to review your footwear and adhere to an exercise program. It is true that for some structural issues we do indeed need to use an orthotic and we are unable to correct these issues we exercise alone. Also if a foot is highly rigid or unable to form rigidity we may also need an insole. Sometimes we can use an insole in the early days of rehabilitation and then wean off it as the foot gets stronger/more mobile depending on the issues. So does one answer fit all? Definitely not. Each case needs to be assessed individually to ensure the correct treatment for each foot.
Senior Chartered Physiotherapist