Efficacy of Orthotics for treating Achilles Tendonitis

Efficacy of Orthotics

Achilles tendonitis is a serious condition that arises due to overexertion of the Achilles tendon, which causes inflammation. It can cause soreness at the back of the heel, making it painful to move.

The Achilles is the biggest tendon in the human body, and it connects the calf muscles of the leg to the heel bone. It is used every time the foot moves for walking, running, jumping, or even getting on the toes. Achilles tendonitis is more widespread in athletes and runners.


Pronation leading to Achilles Tendonitis

Pronation indicates the movement of the foot landing when one runs or walks. It is basically the movement of the ankle and arch tipping inwards with each step, leading to shock absorption.

Pronation is a natural and normal movement required for a proper walking style. However, overpronation can lead to painful conditions such as Achilles tendonitis.

To amend the foot overpronation, custom orthotic insoles can be of great help as they lift the foot arches up and improve the ankle alignment, relieving pain from the pressure points.

Flat feet leading to Achille tendonitis

Some people are born with flat feet, meaning their feet doesn’t have the required arch. This arch is really important as it allows for the bodyweight to be distributed evenly across the feet and allows a slight spring every time you take a step. Without the arch, there are chances of misalignment which may cause several complications including Achilles tendonitis. This is because when running or walking with a flat foot, undue pressure is exerted on the Achilles tendon, causing inflammation and tears.

Flat feet can be supported with the help of orthotic devices such as an insole or a shoe insert depending on the severity of the issue.

Orthotics for Achilles Tendonitis

Efficacy of Orthotics for treating Achilles Tendonitis

One way to deal with Achilles tendonitis is by using foot orthotics. The latest research suggests that custom foot achilles tendonitis orthotic devices can really help in reducing the pressure on the Achilles tendon by keeping the foot from twisting a lot.

Moreover, they allow for the foot to have minimum movement and eliminate the fear of extra load on the already strained tendon.


What is Orthotics?

Orthotics is “a medical specialty that focuses on the design and application of orthoses. An orthosis (plural: orthoses) is an externally applied device used to influence the structural and functional characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system.” [1]

Orthotic devices are shoe inserts made of different materials and quality to give support to the foot, heel, calf, and ankle. It provides arch support and helps with biomechanical foot issues. There are many varieties of orthotics available from over-the-counter options to custom foot orthotics.

Before investing in an orthotic for Achilles tendonitis, it is important to know the underlying cause of the foot pain. Orthotics cater to two different needs which are as follows:

  1. Orthotics made of memory foam are made to give cushioning to the foot to make walking in shoes more comfortable. These are a short-term fix as they basically just make wearing shoes more comfortable by providing an extra insole.
  2. The second and more important need for orthotics is to create support for abnormal foot movement. They are made of sturdier material and allow for proper foot alignment and optimal joint movement.

What is custom orthotics for Achilles tendonitis?

What is custom orthotics for Achilles tendonitis

A custom orthotic is a medical device made by the doctor especially for the patient, using casts and impressions of the patient’s foot. It is made to order and perfectly fits the foot. It helps the foot to function properly and hold the correct alignment.

An Achilles tendonitis custom orthotic is designed to ensure that the heel gets the right amount of stability and does not put undue strain on the Achilles tendon. In case the shoes are not a perfect fit, the orthotics ensure the foot gets great support regardless.


Why should you opt for customized foot orthotics for Achilles tendonitis?

Customized foot orthotics are much more effective than over-the-counter ones as they are tailor-made for your feet. They will allow for greater healing by providing the heel with proper stability and shock absorption.

They are designed to reduce abnormal rolling and other movements of the foot. They spread the pressure on the bottom of the foot in a way that eases any tenderness or pain the patient may feel when walking or running.

Heel Cups For Achilles Tendonitis

Heel Cups For Achilles Tendonitis

Heel cups are thick, gel-based cushioned pads kept near the heel of the shoe to elevate the heel. The idea is that the heel cups will raise the heel enough so as not to stretch the tendon too much when walking or running.

This in turn should help with the Achilles tendonitis by ‘shortening’ the muscle. Heel cups or heel pads are orthotic devices that often come attached to the insoles to give the required support to the foot.

Achilles Heel Support Socks

Achilles Heel Support socks provide medical-grade compression from the foot to the ankle, improving blood circulation in the tendon. It provides support ad stability to the foot while preventing it from overexertion.

While the Achilles Heel Support sock alone cannot cure Achilles tendonitis, it can be used to soothe the tendon temporarily.

The following are the best support socks available in the market:

Best Insoles for Achilles tendonitis

One way to relieve yourself from the continuous pain from Achilles tendonitis is by wearing an orthotic insole. Insoles can also be worn if you have flat feet. It provides support to the foot arch and prevents the foot from rolling in abnormal directions.

The insoles offer arch support as well as feature heel pads to support the foot’s alignment.

The market is saturated with different brands but here are the best insoles for Achilles tendonitis that offer great arch support, cushioning, and a supportive heel cup.

  • Dr. Scholl’s orthotics for heel pain

These offer a great value for money and come in ¾ length. These insoles are easy to fit inside shoes and are equipped with Shock Guard technology. This is basically a cushioned heel cup that offers support when walking and protects the Achilles from overstretching or twisting.

  • Superfeet Green

The Superfeet Green insole is a good option for those who have medium arches. It has a wide, deep heel cup that offers shock absorption and keeps the heel aligned in the correct position. Its Moisturewick antimicrobial technology helps keep away the sweat.

  • Superfeet Copper

This insole is made of three layers of foam cushion to provide support along the length of the foot. The reinforced stabilizer cap in the heel provides shock absorption, helping with Achilles.

Its Moisturewick antimicrobial technology helps keep away the sweat. They are especially recommended for people with flat feet or medium arches.

  • Tread labs pace

These offer great functionality and are of full length. Its two-piece design comprises a bottom part that is hard and molds to provide arch support. The top part is soft and cushioned and goes along the length of the foot.

There are four choices for arch height. You can choose whichever one suits you. The heel cup attached offers support and shock absorption and helps take the pressure off the Achilles tendon.

  • Powerstep Pinnacle

This insole is very comfortable owing to the dual-layer padding and Variable Cushioning Technology that is used in manufacturing. The bottom of the insole is made using EVA foam, which allows for great shock absorption.

The insole is accompanied by a comfortable heel cup and built-in arch support. The heel has a semi-rigid shell built-in to provide extra support to the tendon.

  • Spenco Insoles Academy

The Spenco Gel comfort insoles are made with triple-density TPR gel with extra heel cushioning and have metatarsal arch supports that allow for great shock absorption and support.

It features a Silpure antimicrobial finish which prevents the growth of bacteria and keeps the feet clean.


Orthotics is a growing industry with many different companies coming out with variations in insoles, shoe inserts, heel cups, arch support, and more. However, its efficacy is not that high to treat Achilles tendonitis as a standalone treatment. Usually, to treat this condition, one needs to also take exercise therapy alongside the use of orthotics.

If there is no relief after using orthotic devices for Achille tendonitis for two weeks, chances are they will not be useful for your pain.