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Orthotics are special shoe inserts, splints or braces used to help relieve gait problems and foot problems. They can also help increase balance or remove pressure from sore spots.

There are a variety of over-the-counter orthotics, but it is wise to consult a physical therapist or occupational therapist for specific recommendations and to obtain custom-made devices for best benefit.

Keep in mind that choice of shoes can also make a difference in ease and comfort of walking. Styles with toes that curve up (running shoes) can help reduce tripping and toe wear. High-top shoes or boots can provide extra ankle support for a steadier gait. Sturdy soles, or repairing worn areas of soles, may also help.

Detailed information about all types of foot problems and orthotics can be found at the American Podiatry Medical Association.

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