Although there are many shapes and sizes of orthotics, they fall into three categories:
Rigid orthotics are made from a firm material, so they can control function or movement, helping eliminate strains, aches, and pain in your feet, legs, and lower back. They also provide stability, correct imbalances, and improve an abnormal foot position.
For rigid orthotics, your doctor makes a plaster cast or takes an image of your foot; then, it’s used to make a mold, so your orthotic fits your foot perfectly.
These orthotics are primarily protective and are made of soft materials. They absorb shock, cushion the foot, and take pressure away from uncomfortable or sore spots. They’re also made from a mold to ensure the best fit for your foot.
Semi-rigid orthotics are made from layers of soft material reinforced with rigid materials. They provide balance for walking, and athletes often use them to mitigate pain while they train and compete. The doctors may prescribe semi-rigid orthotics to treat flatfoot and in- or out-toeing in children.