Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

breaking in orthotics

Posted by DavidB on 5/11/00 at 08:31 (020203)

I have a geerally minor case of PF, so I feel somewhat guilty about posting this message. I do stretching, wear P.W. Minor extra-depth shoes for a neuroma, take prescription anti-inflamatories, and have soft custom-made orthotics with an arch support pad. I've been trying to break them in one hour at a time, but have been having trouble--they get painful in the arch. I've had them adjusted, but that gave me too little support. When I'm not wearing the custom-made orthotics, I wear Spenco soft arch supports (hard orthotics killed me). I've never worn shoes with much arch support. I wore penny loafers with none, but suddenly had this big pain in my left heel. I'd love any tips on how to break in orthotics.

Re: breaking in orthotics

Nancy S. on 5/11/00 at 09:08 (020204)

Hi David. I'm not sure I understand -- the arch support in your custom orthotics was too high, so they were adjusted and now the arch is too low? Can soft orthotics be adjusted again to give you the right amount of support? (Sorry, that's probably a dumb question.) If they don't give you the right amount of support, perhaps you shouldn't be trying to get used to them at all . . . But if I've misunderstood and they're ok, I would start out REALLY slow --maybe just 15 minutes at a time, then half an hour, then an hour, etc. They all do take getting used to. Good luck. --Nancy S.

Re: breaking in orthotics

davidb on 5/11/00 at 09:12 (020205)

Sorry for the confusion. The soft orthoitic includes an arch support pad that can be shaved down or replaced. Thanks for the support and advice.

Re: breaking in orthotics

john h on 5/11/00 at 09:52 (020209)

david: there are some orthosis i have never been able to get comfortable in. particularly ones that offer to much arch support. since my pain is primarly in my arch the ones with a lot of support in that area seem to aggrevate my condition. my rigid orthotics really did take some getting accustomed to. about a month or more. some shoes such as Joseph Siebel have a good arch support to start with, a wide toe box, and under the removable liner the shoe is a hard rubber which offers additional comfort. i can wear these with or without an orthosis. good shoe stores carry these european made shoes. other than a rigid orthosis i would guess that it should not take long at all to feel comfortable in a custom orthosis if they are properly fitted.

Re: breaking in orthotics

Barbara on 5/11/00 at 13:00 (020221)

I've tried almost every over-the-counter orthotic made and now a custom orthotic and cannot get used to any of them. They are either too rigid, too high-arched, too uncomfortable, etc.

I have decided to go with a good high end motion control (running) shoe and leave it at that. Orthotics don't work for me. Good shoes do. Maybe that's the answer to your and other people's questions about getting used to orthotics. I believe that orthotics should fit your foot, not the other way around. If they hurt your arches, they are just creating more inflamation and that makes no sense to me.

Many people can wear them and get great relief. I envy them because they can at least wear more than one type of shoe. I will have to live in my running shoes for a while until my foot quiets down and then try to expand my wardrobe.



Re: breaking in orthotics

Helene M on 5/12/00 at 16:06 (020276)

I couldn't agree with you more. The orthotics injured my arches badly and I've been suffering for 4 months because of them. Sometimes I think they will never heal. How I wish I had stuck with my good sneakers and not even tried the orthotics! Instead I listened to the drs. who said I need them.

Re: breaking in orthotics

ChrisO on 5/12/00 at 16:15 (020277)

Hi Helene - I couldn't agree with YOU more! I'm so sick of the orthotics I could scream. I'm back to using the computer-custom ones I got from my Pod. The ones (generic) from the Chiro were just too much and I never could get my mind wrapped around the notion of changing my entire stance via his orthos. I figure I came by my arches naturally and it doesn't seem right to change their whole structure. Anyway, I'm thinking that from the cast to these arch inserts, all I've done is make the arches acute while the heel pain is quite nearly gone! (I think that's mostly due to cosistent ART and mild stretcing). I'll go ahead a be a good girl and work with these computer inserts properly for a couple weeks. And, if my arches are still sore, I'm off 'em! Like Nancy. By the way, Nancy, are you still sans orthotics?

Re: breaking in orthotics

Angie on 5/12/00 at 16:19 (020280)

David - Hi. I too had no luck with hard orthotics and also have tried Spenco over the counter. Spenco helped some but for me my Chiropractor recommended Foot Levelers (which is the name brand of the orthotic). They are custom made for your field from a mold and they are made of leather. Not too hard- not too soft. The first two days I wore them about 2 hours each time. My arch hurt also. The third day less pain, etc... etc.... For me the Foot Levelers and strapping my arches has help considerably. Hang in there I too felt I would never get use to the leather orthotics. But I have and they feel great! Angie

Re: breaking in orthotics

Nancy S. on 5/12/00 at 18:50 (020298)

Yes, Chris, I'm still sans orthotics. This is the longest time of minimal pain I've had since PF hit me in May '99. On some days, I have just about no pain to speak of. Other days, if I've been on my feet more, I have maybe a 1, 2,or 3 level pain out of 10. But I'm always over it, after heating, massaging, gentle calf stretching, and icing, and a good night's rest in my night splint.
I still alternate with my Birks, which I usually wear in the morning and evening. But the hiking boots without orthotics seem like the right support when I'm out and on my feet for a while. If I were to return to orthotics, I would use the otc Biosoles -- although even those ended up giving me more PF and arch pain than I was ready to settle for. After another month or two and if all is still going well and improving without orthotics, I've decided to make a dart board out of all my orthotics, inserts, heel cushions, etc. And maybe with a picture of my ex-pod. at the center.
I am still a ways from running anywhere, or from being able to walk for hours straight with no rest, but I'm thrilled just to be able to work even a short day and do some chores and stuff without killing myself. At the end of the day now, I usually feel I've actually accomplished something and that my foot is progressing, slowly but surely.
I have to agree with you -- as you can tell by now, I'm developing a real suspicion of orthotics -- the only thing it seems any of them did for me was to ultimately create new pains in new places. --Nancy

Re: all I can say is what I've done...

Pookie on 5/14/00 at 21:55 (020372)

Hi:

Wear them until your feet start asking you to take them off. Take them off for about 2 hours, and slip them back on. It is hard fro your feet to accept weird things under them, but eventually they end up adjusting and molding themselves to this 'new way of life.' It's like wearing contact lenses, the adjustment period is pretty drawn out.

Good luck, and keep trying, your feet art worth it. You don't want to worsen like us.


Re: breaking in orthotics

Nancy S. on 5/11/00 at 09:08 (020204)

Hi David. I'm not sure I understand -- the arch support in your custom orthotics was too high, so they were adjusted and now the arch is too low? Can soft orthotics be adjusted again to give you the right amount of support? (Sorry, that's probably a dumb question.) If they don't give you the right amount of support, perhaps you shouldn't be trying to get used to them at all . . . But if I've misunderstood and they're ok, I would start out REALLY slow --maybe just 15 minutes at a time, then half an hour, then an hour, etc. They all do take getting used to. Good luck. --Nancy S.

Re: breaking in orthotics

davidb on 5/11/00 at 09:12 (020205)

Sorry for the confusion. The soft orthoitic includes an arch support pad that can be shaved down or replaced. Thanks for the support and advice.

Re: breaking in orthotics

john h on 5/11/00 at 09:52 (020209)

david: there are some orthosis i have never been able to get comfortable in. particularly ones that offer to much arch support. since my pain is primarly in my arch the ones with a lot of support in that area seem to aggrevate my condition. my rigid orthotics really did take some getting accustomed to. about a month or more. some shoes such as Joseph Siebel have a good arch support to start with, a wide toe box, and under the removable liner the shoe is a hard rubber which offers additional comfort. i can wear these with or without an orthosis. good shoe stores carry these european made shoes. other than a rigid orthosis i would guess that it should not take long at all to feel comfortable in a custom orthosis if they are properly fitted.

Re: breaking in orthotics

Barbara on 5/11/00 at 13:00 (020221)

I've tried almost every over-the-counter orthotic made and now a custom orthotic and cannot get used to any of them. They are either too rigid, too high-arched, too uncomfortable, etc.

I have decided to go with a good high end motion control (running) shoe and leave it at that. Orthotics don't work for me. Good shoes do. Maybe that's the answer to your and other people's questions about getting used to orthotics. I believe that orthotics should fit your foot, not the other way around. If they hurt your arches, they are just creating more inflamation and that makes no sense to me.

Many people can wear them and get great relief. I envy them because they can at least wear more than one type of shoe. I will have to live in my running shoes for a while until my foot quiets down and then try to expand my wardrobe.



Re: breaking in orthotics

Helene M on 5/12/00 at 16:06 (020276)

I couldn't agree with you more. The orthotics injured my arches badly and I've been suffering for 4 months because of them. Sometimes I think they will never heal. How I wish I had stuck with my good sneakers and not even tried the orthotics! Instead I listened to the drs. who said I need them.

Re: breaking in orthotics

ChrisO on 5/12/00 at 16:15 (020277)

Hi Helene - I couldn't agree with YOU more! I'm so sick of the orthotics I could scream. I'm back to using the computer-custom ones I got from my Pod. The ones (generic) from the Chiro were just too much and I never could get my mind wrapped around the notion of changing my entire stance via his orthos. I figure I came by my arches naturally and it doesn't seem right to change their whole structure. Anyway, I'm thinking that from the cast to these arch inserts, all I've done is make the arches acute while the heel pain is quite nearly gone! (I think that's mostly due to cosistent ART and mild stretcing). I'll go ahead a be a good girl and work with these computer inserts properly for a couple weeks. And, if my arches are still sore, I'm off 'em! Like Nancy. By the way, Nancy, are you still sans orthotics?

Re: breaking in orthotics

Angie on 5/12/00 at 16:19 (020280)

David - Hi. I too had no luck with hard orthotics and also have tried Spenco over the counter. Spenco helped some but for me my Chiropractor recommended Foot Levelers (which is the name brand of the orthotic). They are custom made for your field from a mold and they are made of leather. Not too hard- not too soft. The first two days I wore them about 2 hours each time. My arch hurt also. The third day less pain, etc... etc.... For me the Foot Levelers and strapping my arches has help considerably. Hang in there I too felt I would never get use to the leather orthotics. But I have and they feel great! Angie

Re: breaking in orthotics

Nancy S. on 5/12/00 at 18:50 (020298)

Yes, Chris, I'm still sans orthotics. This is the longest time of minimal pain I've had since PF hit me in May '99. On some days, I have just about no pain to speak of. Other days, if I've been on my feet more, I have maybe a 1, 2,or 3 level pain out of 10. But I'm always over it, after heating, massaging, gentle calf stretching, and icing, and a good night's rest in my night splint.
I still alternate with my Birks, which I usually wear in the morning and evening. But the hiking boots without orthotics seem like the right support when I'm out and on my feet for a while. If I were to return to orthotics, I would use the otc Biosoles -- although even those ended up giving me more PF and arch pain than I was ready to settle for. After another month or two and if all is still going well and improving without orthotics, I've decided to make a dart board out of all my orthotics, inserts, heel cushions, etc. And maybe with a picture of my ex-pod. at the center.
I am still a ways from running anywhere, or from being able to walk for hours straight with no rest, but I'm thrilled just to be able to work even a short day and do some chores and stuff without killing myself. At the end of the day now, I usually feel I've actually accomplished something and that my foot is progressing, slowly but surely.
I have to agree with you -- as you can tell by now, I'm developing a real suspicion of orthotics -- the only thing it seems any of them did for me was to ultimately create new pains in new places. --Nancy

Re: all I can say is what I've done...

Pookie on 5/14/00 at 21:55 (020372)

Hi:

Wear them until your feet start asking you to take them off. Take them off for about 2 hours, and slip them back on. It is hard fro your feet to accept weird things under them, but eventually they end up adjusting and molding themselves to this 'new way of life.' It's like wearing contact lenses, the adjustment period is pretty drawn out.

Good luck, and keep trying, your feet art worth it. You don't want to worsen like us.