As far as orthotic devices go, there are so many options that it’s hard to tell any client anything definitive. There are brand choices as well as stiffness and specific movement protection differences.
What we must be most aware of is that orthotic devices really shouldn’t be used the way that most are using them. Like most pain, foot, ankle, and/or lower leg pain is a sign that there is a mechanical problem somewhere in the system. You have to find what that problem is. Once that’s discovered, you should select an orthotic insert that will give you some relief while you are working to correct the mechanics of the foot and ankle.
If this step is done right, then after some time, the insole will become obsolete. Podiatrists and some other specialist practices make a lot of money fitting people for very high-priced insoles and selling folks the “cure” for their foot/ankle pain. In fact, all they are really doing is making that patient dependent on that bit of plastic and rubber to keep their pain at bay.
If you have to tinker, I ask many of our clients to try a couple of different off-the-shelf insoles first to see if they provide any relief. This actually can be diagnostic in nature, so we listen closely when clients tell us that they have tried their luck at the mystical “orthotics.”
What's the moral of the story? If you have pain down there, it sounds more like you need more time on the table with a specialist who can assess the real problem! Find a good foot/ankle pro to help you with the details and kiss the pain goodbye.