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How to Make Your Own Orthotics that Work

Posted by Jay Evans on 9/03/98 at 16:13 (001599)

I have tried many remedies for plantar fasciitis. I have it in both feet. I've worn heel cups (no relief), been injected with cortisone (relief for 6 weeks), worn night splint (took the edge off the pain), put magnets in my shoes (hepled for one week), been on a stretching, massage, and ice program (actually got worse), and been to a podiatrist. The most promising was the podiatrist who taped a felt pad to my arch and explained that the problem was in the heel but recommended orthotics to lift the arch. The felt pad gave me instant relief and he then said I was a candidate for the $300.00 orthotics. At the same time I found my insurance wanted nothing to do with the podiatrist. I understood the principle of what the orthotics would do and decided to make them myself first to see if they would help before I spent $300.00 on a podiatrist-made pair. Here's how I did it:


Plaster of paris
1 pair Dr. Scholls foot pads with fabric top (cheap ones)
1 tube silicone rubber caulk
plastic food wrap
1 shoe box lid
rag strips 1/4 inch wide


Roll newspapers and place in shoebox lid as spacers, leaving space a little wider and longer than your foot. Cover with food wrap to create a waterproof tray into which you will pour plaster and place your foot.

Mix a cup of plaster of paris with water using the directions on the plaster box. Pour into the tray and cover with another sheet of food wrap. While seated, press your afflicted foot down onto the food wrap until your arch has made a deep impression in the plaster. Leave it there and stay still until the plaster warms up (reacts) and begins to set.

Remove your foot, mix up another cup of plaster and pour it into the depression your foot has made (don't remove the top sheet of food wrap). Press a couple rag strips down into the plaster to reinforce the finished product before the plaster sets. After the plaster sets remove the positive cast of you foot and let it dry overnight.

Sand or scrape the wrinkles and rough spots out of the arch. Fill the arch with silicone caulk and press the cast down onto a Dr. Scholls pad. Smooth the excess from the sides with your finger. Let dry overnight.

Peel the cast away from the caulk and you now have a custom made shoe insert that will support the arch and fit into your shoe. It may be helpful to remove the original shoe liner to make room for the arch support. It might take a few tries to get the cast or the insert just like you want it. If you need a little more support, glue some felt to the bottom of the Dr. Scholls pad under the arch area. Glue more than one piece if you need more. I didn't spend more than $6.00 in materials and I can make as many as I want, one for each pair of shoes and boots I own.

Best of all, my feet feel great. I still have some morning pain but it is much, much better now. I had had the condition for two years in both feet and was one who had to limp and walk with support in the morning. I showed a friend in his 70's with the same condition how to make these and he now claims his feet haven't felt this good 'since he was in the womb'. I am a computer systems analyst, not a doctor, so I certainly can't diagnose anyone's condition. I have found some relief cheaply and wanted to share this with others similarly afflicted.

Re: How to Make Your Own Orthotics that Work

LOUSue on 9/04/98 at 22:02 (001622)

Thanks for the post, I will try this soon. I also only found relief after taping in arch supports and this will save me time daily not to mention the skin rash from the tape. Thanks again, will post how well I did.

Re: How to Make Your Own Orthotics that Work

Dr. Scott on 9/07/98 at 06:40 (001667)

As a podiatrist, I am happy to see the ingenius methods by which the general public can afford themselves the features and benefits of a 'custom' orthotic. I applaud your efforts and reesults.

Be Careful though in that the degree of correction, if you happen to post these devices on purpose or by Accident, can significantly alter the benefits of these devices and in some cases make the condition much worse. I guess the rule of thumb to use is that if it feels good you did a good job!

Good luck.....

Dr. Scott

Re: How to Make Your Own Orthotics that Work

Maria Walker on 9/07/98 at 17:47 (001677)

What a great find - your own orthotics. I shall try it and send a copy of your 'recipe' to a friend in N.Y.
Thanks for sharing.

Re: How to Make Your Own Orthotics that Work

Jay Evans on 9/11/98 at 08:10 (001775)

Thanks Dr. Scott. In fact, I may yet return to the podiatrist, especially since I am not yet completely without pain.