Orthotics You Can Make, Part I: Arch Supports




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

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. (Seehttps://www.instructables.com/id/EG67HR3GGPETHHH/) for a companion instructable.  This instructable is focused on the arch support aspect of the problem.

Step 1: 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

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.

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

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

Step 5: Add Sponge Material to Pocket As Shown

Small pieces of sponge are cut, trimmed and then inserted into sewn pocket.  This completes the arch support.  Make several of these and they can be changed as often as you need to and they can be washed without sacrificing the support function.

Step 6: Success of Project:

Lots of people suffer from foot pain!  I made these to help alleviate mine, and found that they work as well, if not better than the store bought varieties.  Always wanting to be frugal, I thought this might be a solution and save money. I casually mentioned them to my mailman, and he tried them on  and gave nothing but praise and "thumbs up" to their effect. Also, my lady friend, who came up with the name: "Spongee-Wonzees", testified to the pain alleviating attributes of the arch supports. She has been a waitress for many years, and always had a foot problem which made the job very strenuous and painful. She of course spent countless dollars and many Dr. visits trying to find relief.  When she put these on her feet, she instantly felt better, praised the supports and said they worked better than any thing she had ever tried. And she was able to stop taking any and all pain medications as well.  Maybe they can work for you as well. If you have foot pain, give this method a try.  They are very simple to make, but if you can't make them for some reason, PM me and we can find a way to get you a pair. 

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    10 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    They absolutely worked...today 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.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    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.)


    8 years ago on Step 6

    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