February 19, 2015

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Benefits of Metatarsal Arch Support

In an effort to lead an active, healthy lifestyle it is not uncommon for people to make changes to their activity level or routine then experience the frustration of a painful setback in the physical progress due to metatarsal pain from inappropriate metatarsal arch support. Most metatarsal problems are developed because of the way the weight is being distributed or the mechanical workings of the foot. These problems cause inflammation and pain. The factors that most often contribute to metatarsal pain are:

  • The way feet are shaped:  High arches and having a second toe longer than the first puts more pressure on the metatarsals.
  • Intense training and activity.
  • Excess Weight
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Shoes that fit poorly
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Stress Fractures

Insoles that provide metatarsal arch support are a great way to treat and prevent metatarsal inflammation and pain.  

Benefits of insoles/orthotics with metatarsal arch support:

  • Reduce pressure on the balls of the feet.
  • Assist in pronation control.
  • Reduce toe pressure.

Our favorite picks for metatarsal arch support:

New Balance 3810

New Balance 3030

Birkenstock BirkoSport
February 05, 2015

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What are the most comfortable insoles?

The British poet Samuel Butler said, “Life is not an exact Science, it is an art.” So it goes with insoles. Our feet and what they need for comfort are as varied as our personalities. What works for one may not suit the needs of another at all. It is important to be aware of what is going on with your feet (where you hurt and why if possible) before making a selection so that you choose the most comfortable insoles for your particular needs.  

Here at Insoles and Beyond we think of ourselves as the art gallery where you can browse, learn what is available in the world of insoles, be guided and assisted in what will best suit your tastes and needs, leave satisfied that you selected the most comfortable insoles for you, and return as often as you want to learn, browse, and shop.

Thankfully insoles don’t have as many genres as art so it simplifies the selection process. While factors that contribute to foot pain are varied, the solutions are pretty simple. You need either an insole that offers support, cushioning, or a combination of the two.  These features are delivered through various materials and means in order to help heal and relieve pain and discomfort.

Things to consider when choosing your most comfortable insole:

Thin/Thick Insoles

The thickness of an insole tends to indicate the level of shock absorption, especially in moldable insoles. In non-moldable insoles thickness indicates a stronger arch support for those with fallen arches and flat feet. They are not as good for those with high arches. Wear thick insoles in shoes with extra depth and athletic shoes. Thin insoles should be worn with dress shoes to provide support without making your shoe fit too snug.

Here are some of our thicker insoles: 

Powerstep ComfortLast 

New Balance Supportive Cushioning 3810

Archmolds Maximum Heat Moldable Insoles

Functional/Accommodative Insoles

Functional orthotics offer support to improve the mechanics of how your feet work, including alignment and weight distribution. Accommodative inserts provide cushioning to relieve pain for those with injuries, maladies and discomfort.  

These may include insoles for plantar fasciitis

Some of our most comfortable insoles for plantar fasciitis are: 

Sof Sole Plantar Fasciitis Orthotic Insoles 

Heel-That-Pain Full Length Insoles


Rigid, Semi-Rigid, Soft Insoles

In determining how rigid or soft your insole should be, consider the current health of your feet. The more rigid the insole the greater support and alignment correction you will receive. Semi-rigid insoles are designed for forward and side to side movements, such as in tennis, basketball, soccer and aerobics. Soft insoles are designed to provide cushioning and absorb shock to decrease inflammation and relieve pain.  

Full Length/3/4 Length Insole

Full length insoles offer a footbed that fits heel to toe. Three-quarter length insoles begin midfoot at the arch and fit back to the heel. Typically full length insoles are used in shoes that are orthotic friendly and athletic shoes. Three-quarter length insoles are designed for the best fit in casual and dress shoes.

January 28, 2015

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Plantar Fasciitis and How Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis Can Help

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. We have a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of our feet and connects the heel bone to the toes called plantar fascia. This acts like a bowstring absorbing shock and supporting the arches of the feet. Small tears occur if there is too much tension on the bowstring/fascia. Repeated tearing and stretching causes irritation and inflammation.  

The first steps in the morning for those who suffer from Plantar fasciitis are usually the most painful due to the stabbing sensation. Typically, the pain lightens as the feet are limbered up but often returns after standing or being seated for extended periods of time. It is important to address plantar fasciitis because those who suffer with it often change their stride in order to minimize pain, resulting other complications for back, hips, or knees in addition to feet.

Who is at Risk?

  • Plantar fasciitis most commonly afflicts people between 40 and 60.
  • Those who stand on their feet most of the day. Teachers, Nurses, Factory workers.
  • Those who are overweight or obese
  • Those who participate in physical activities that put extra stress on the heels and tissues attached to the heel. Runners, ballerinas, etc.
  • Those who have issues with their feet, like high arches, abnormal walking patterns that distribute weight in a way that stresses the plantar fascia, flat-footed individuals may also easily suffer from plantar fasciitis.

What can be done?

  • Reduce inflammation with NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen.  
  • Apply ice over the area of pain for 15-20 minutes three-four times/day and after you engage in activities that cause pain.
  • Change the sports and exercises you are doing and switch to low-impact sports/exercises.
  • Stretch the arches of your feet with simple exercises that you can do at home. Keep the calf muscles, plantar fascia and achilles tendons stretched.
  • Wear insoles for plantar fasciitis that promote healing and protect the feet from further injury.

What are the best insoles for plantar fasciitis?

Sof Sole Plantar Fasciitis Insoles

Heel-That-Pain Heel Seats

Heel-That-Pain Gel Heel Seats

Heel-That-Pain Full Length Heel Seats

Let the healing begin!!!

January 20, 2015

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What are the best inserts for standing all day?

We don’t have to look far to see the negative impact that sitting all day is having on those who work sedentary jobs. Most of us know someone who has a health condition that could be improved if they were more active during their day. It is not uncommon for those who have to stand all day to experience problems as well. Mailmen, beauticians, teachers, nurses, sales clerks, chefs, waitresses and others working in similar careers experience problems related to being on their feet all day. Concrete flooring is unforgiving and negatively impacts feet and posture. The most ideal work situation would be one of alternating between standing, walking and sitting or lying. It’s hard to think of many jobs where the ideal is reality. Thankfully, we have some of the best inserts for standing all day.  


It is difficult to find shoes that provide the kind of cushioning and support needed for standing over an extended period of time. When pain caused by standing all day is experienced, our bodies compensate by putting additional weight on the opposite parts of the feet, which can cause misalignment of the spine and add back pain to foot problems. The best shoe inserts for standing all day provide cushioning, comfort and support.


Repetitive strain injuries occur from activities that harm the body. Work that requires standing all day adds uncommon stress on the back, hips, legs, knees and feet. The best shoe inserts for standing all day relieve discomfort and fatigue in feet, knees, hips and lower back, increasing productivity as you feel better and more energized. Finding the best shoe inserts for standing all day can prevent excess stress and strain on the body.

What to consider when selecting your best shoe inserts for standing all day

  • Pay attention to where you are experiencing the most pain.  
  • What are your primary daily activities? Sitting, standing, walking?
  • Any foot conditions you may suffer from like dropped arches, corns, bunions or calluses.

An assessment of your answers will assist in selecting the best insert for you.

The best shoe inserts for standing all day provide:

  • Cushioning
  • Shock absorption
  • Better balance
  • Prevent blisters
  • Prevent sweating
  • Lessen muscle fatigue
  • Limit excess stress on lower back, hips, knees and feet

Inserts are more art than science and depend greatly on individual comfort. Consider Insoles and Beyond your art gallery and let us help you make the selection that best suits your tastes and needs.  

Here are some of our recommendations.

New Balance 3810

New Balance 3030

Archmolds Ultimate

Powerstep ComfortLast

Sof Sole Airr Orthotic

Sole Softec Ultra.
June 16, 2014

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Benefits Of Compression Socks

Compression Socks have been used in the medical field for some time, aiding bedridden and inactive patients in order to prevent deep vein thrombosis (blood clotting). Now, people who are quite active are reaping many benefits from wearing compression socks: particularly athletes, nurses, factory workers, construction workers -- anyone on their feet for long periods of time.  

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression Socks are socks that have a graduated pressure: tightest at the ankle, decreasing in pressure to the top of the sock. They are fitted to individual needs through the large diverse selection we have available.

How Do Compression Socks Work?

They act as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The cavities of the veins are reduced and blood flow is restored to a more normal state, which in turn aids in overall circulation. Compression Socks also act the way an ice bath would after a run, which aids in recovery. Many runners trust compression socks and sleeves because they find that they experience an increase in oxygen delivery and a decrease in lactic acid; this prevents cramps and minimizes muscle fatigue. Some studies found runners to have an increase in distance and anaerobic threshold in cycling and jumping performance while using compression socks.

Compression Socks Benefits.

Compression Socks have been found to increase oxygen delivery, decrease lactic acid, prevent cramps, minimize muscle fatigue, increase circulation and blood flow, decrease muscle soreness and perceived fatigue, and they keep you warm. They have even been found to increase blood flow and aid in the uptake of excess fluid in the lymphatic system of the legs during the recovery period after running. Based on a study by Elmarie Terblanche at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, those who ran in compression socks during the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon had significantly less damage. They were found to recover more quickly. Some were even ready to train in only three days. Those wearing compression socks ran 12 minutes faster, on average.

All the while, compression socks keep you looking "cool"- we offer you a wide selection of trendy and colorful options.

Let us help you pick out the right compression socks for your particular needs.  For any questions you may have, hit the blue comment button on the left.  We would love to help.

Compression Socks Benefits:

  • Increased Oxygen delivery
  • Decreased lactic acid
  • Prevent cramps
  • Minimized muscle fatigue
  • Increased circulation and blood flow
  • Decreased muscle soreness and perceived fatigue
  • Possible increased blood flow and lymph removal during the recovery period after running
June 02, 2014

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What is a Stress Fracture and What Do You Do With One?

Anyone who’s watched the Olympics has heard about one athlete or another dealing with a stress fracture. Maybe stress fractures have occurred a little closer to home, too – in yourself or a friend. Stress fractures can be very painful, and it’s important to understand what they are so that proper treatment can be sought.

What’s a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are tiny, microscopic cracks that appear in the bone. Many people aren’t aware that our skeletal systems are constantly repairing themselves, replacing worn out bone cells on a daily basis as we sleep. Stress fractures happen when there’s too much strain on a given bone for the damage to be repaired overnight.

What causes a stress fracture?

By far the most common cause of stress fractures is simple overuse. They’ll often crop up in athletes that are training or otherwise exercising with suddenly greater intensity, duration or frequency than prior levels. Other whole-body issues such as nutrition deficiencies, lack of sleep or even hormonal imbalances can contribute to stress fractures.

What’s the cure for a stress fracture?

The first step in treating a stress fracture is diagnosing it. The pain is felt within the bone and it’s right around the affected area – both while it’s in use (for example, jumping on a leg with a stress fracture) and when it’s pressed on (otherwise known as bone tenderness). It’s alleviated with rest and exacerbated with use. A stress fracture diagnosis can come from an x-ray, but early stress fractures are not always picked up by x-rays. Other, more precise diagnostic tools are bone scans and MRIs.

Once you’ve got a stress fracture diagnosis, the main element of recovery is rest – generally anywhere from one to six weeks with a gradual return to weigh-bearing for a non-serious diagnosis. Over time and with enough rest, the bone will be able to repair itself and normal activity can be resumed. More high-risk stress fracture, such as those in the hips, are treated more aggressively to prevent the micro-fractures from becoming full-blown fractures.

How can Insoles and Beyond help with stress fractures?

The best treatment for stress fractures is prevention. While stress fractures can occur in any bone of the body, they most frequently appear in the lower extremities, which are weight-bearing and subject to high-impact use. One of the ways you can support yourself while you’re recovering from a stress fracture is to wear supportive footwear with plenty of cushioning. This will improve how efficient your biomechanics are, reducing any unnecessary strain, while providing shock absorption to reduce the impact of your stride. Our recommended insoles for work boots have some of our favorite cushioning insoles on the market. If you aren’t sure which is right for you, click the contact button on the left to get in touch! We’re happy to help.

 

None of this information is intended to replace a diagnosis from a licensed professional. If you suspect that you’re dealing with stress fractures, see your doctor as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis. 

May 19, 2014

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What is a Shin Splint and How Do You Treat One?

If you’re accustomed to doing any kind of high-impact activity for any duration of time (running or ballet, for example), you may have dealt with a problem known as shin splints. View full article →
May 05, 2014

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Every Day I’m Compression-ing: The Hows and Whys of Compression for Venous Health


Make an investment in your long-term vein health today with compression stockings for women and/or compression socks for men. Act now, before it's too late! View full article →
April 28, 2014

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Product Spotlight: CEP Compression Calf Sleeves

Have you ever tried a compression calf sleeve? Whether you’re new to the concept or an old pro at using compression legwear, we’ve got the right product for you.  View full article →
March 24, 2014

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Foot Arch Strengthening Exercises

One of the things you can do to support your foot health in addition to wearing arch support inserts is foot arch strengthening exercises. Here are four to get you started.  View full article →
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