Picture of Orthotics You Can Make, Part I:  Arch Supports
In the last few years, due to aging, no doubt, foot pain has become a problem. I believe the condition is plantar faciitis as well as some minor arthritis pain. What ever the condition, I decided to try and alleviate the pain with out drugs and or store bought orthotics.  I came up with the idea of making arch supports and insoles out of available materials, hence these instructables. (See for a companion instructable.  This instructable is focused on the arch support aspect of the problem.
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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

Picture of Gather Materials and Tools
To make the arch supports, some stretch fabric I had on hand was used as the material, while I started out with new grout sponges as the padding portion.  I made the first few by sewing by hand, but switched to a sewing machine as my production numbers increased.

Step 2: Cut Material To Sizes Needed

Picture of Cut Material To Sizes Needed
From the pictures shown, dimension of materials to be cut are shown.  Keep in mind that these dimensions are very flexible, i.e., foot size varies depending on the individual, so adjust dimensions as needed.

Step 3: Cut Sponge Material To Size.

Picture of Cut Sponge Material To Size.
As indicated in pictures, various foam sources can be used.  I started with grout sponge material, and these worked very well. Later on, I begin to think more "stiffness" or firmness to the sponge material would work better. I came a cross a tailbone support donut in a thrift shop, and it seemed to have the firmness I was looking for.  It worked better!  So that is my final material of choice, although the other sponges can be used, and simply add thicker pieces, and/or additional pieces as needed to achieve the support your foot needs. Also pictured is a section of tempurpedic foam, or "memory" foam as it were.

Step 4: Sew Cloth Together To Form Supports

Picture of Sew Cloth Together To Form Supports
Using a sewing machine makes very short work of this project.  First,  sew  small "pocket"
piece to the longer band of material. Then sew band that fits around foot together by turning inside out and matching up ends. Sew, then reverse sewn band so good side of material is on the outside
Creativeman (author)  abell222 years ago
They absolutely I am totally free of any foot pain, except when I overdo it, I do have a little residual pain...but I quit using the arch supports about 3 weeks ago and have had no problems at all. I must admit, I started an exercise program as well as riding my bike an hour a day so the resultant weight loss (approx. 50 lbs.) was a huge factor. But the arch supports I made alleviated most pain from the beginning. good luck.
blkhawk3 years ago
They say that the need is the mother of invention, and for some of us that are "over the hill" it helps a lot to be creative.
Colourful4 years ago
I swear by my orthotics, but the idea behind the ones that work best is not to push your foot into the correct position, it's to tilt at the ankle so the foot stops rolling in on itself.

While I'd say these are good for a temporary solution, if you have foot pain regularly I would strongly suggest getting a custom pair made by a professional. You only need them made once, then you can ask for the moulds they used and make your own out of mould-able and slightly flexible. The benefit to these is they are designed to stop your heel turning in (which is the main cause behind most flat feet) and then the arch naturally appears and encourages muscle tone which will reduce pain.
baggioman4 years ago
very bed man
icebird4 years ago
I would caution people that foot orthotics are made custom to the needs of each individual. Getting it wrong can lead to knee, hip, back, neck & spine problems..basically every weight-bearing structure above your feet.

That being said, if you have relief using this method, might as well use it and save money.
Sadly, it turns out recent anthropological research is showing that orthotics are actually leading to foot pain as well as footwear in general. Shoes and orthotics especially, while temporarily relieving pain, lead the muscles in your foot to atrophy (as well as other less than savory health issues). Good work on being inventive though. I just thought I would take a moment to warn. It makes sense when you think about it though. Whenever you give a body part support that body part weakens.
Any sources for this claim? Not counting fringe science (bogus) websites, of course.
For flat feet, the problem is that the foot doesn't "hold" the way it's supposed to. This might help. (I just buy shoes with good arch support & have a pair of custom-orthotics.)
caarntedd4 years ago
I will try this. Good initiative.
CB484 years ago
Hey All of you out there with feet PAIN THESE TRULY WORKED FOR ME I wear them every day its truly wonderful thank you Mr CREATIVEMAAN