Feet are a complex area of the body as there are a lot of small bones which are joined together by a great number of ligaments and controlled by so many muscles. On top of that we take the bodyweight on the foot and subject it to so many stresses and strains. To make it even worse we place the feet inside the unnatural environment of a shoe. It is for this reason that the vocation of podiatry exists because there is just so much that might go wrong with the foot and connected structures. Podiatry practitioners make use of a wide range of different interventions to take care of conditions of the foot and lower limb.
Foot orthotics are often used to take care of the wide array of problems that can go wrong with the feet. The aim of foot orthotics are to alter alignment of the feet towards a more corrected normal position or to decrease the load in structures of the foot that are painful so that they can get better. The foot orthotics do this via having various design characteristics which are meant to match the foot. A custom made foot orthoses can do that. However, non-prescription supports can do this, generally by chance. They may or might not match the feet of the person using them as opposed to a tailor made orthotic will. There are numerous variations which can be varied, like the elevation of the arch as well as the amount of shock absorption. There are even designs known as the Kinetic wedge and Cluffy Wedge.
At times the inexpensive over-the-counter type supports are better and other times the custom ones are better. It will all be determined by the type of the condition, the foot type and shape as well as the guidance of a good clinician as to what is the best option. For those who have a problem with your feet and think you need some foot supports, then visit a good podiatrist.