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breaking in orthotics

Posted by Aaron M. on 7/28/01 at 09:54 (054627)

New to PF and new to this board---a great resource. Just got my orthotics a week ago. I understand it takes a while for one to adjust to them and that this should be done slowly.

What I have noticed, however, is that when I wear them my heel hurts...something it just about stopped doing given my stretching/icing regimen. Is this typical: can orthotics aggravate heel pain initially?

Thanks.

Re: breaking in orthotics

Donna SL on 7/28/01 at 14:21 (054644)

Aaron,

If the orthotics hurt, or cause more discomfort, stop wearing them. They should feel comfortable from the start, and should not cause any pain, other than maybe some general muscle fatigue. Your feet are telling you they are not right, and they may cause permanent injury. They should only help your symptoms, not increase them.

Return to the person who prescribed them, and let them know what is happening. Don't let them try to convice you that this is normal. If they refuse to fix them demand a refund, and go to someone else. Otherwise you may end up having more problems then before you started with them.

If you were beginning to improve without the orthotics, then maybe you don't need them at all. How long were you doing conservative treatments before the orthotics were prescribed?

Donna

Re: breaking in orthotics

Richard, C.Ped on 7/30/01 at 07:48 (054770)

Hi Aaron,
I have to say that it really varies person to person whether they feel comfortable from the start. some people have no problem at all when they first start wearing them. with others, it may take quite a while to get used to them. don't panic right off and demand adjustments. it could very well be the correct prescription for you, but you have to slowly get used to it.

i usually tell my patients to wear them 15 minutes the first day and increase by 15 minutes daily until they feel comfortable. i always insist that they contact me after two weeks for a follow up visit. this way, i can see for myself if something is not right. also, look for any redness where you are feeling the pain. look for any signs of blisters forming.

let me know how long you have had the orthotics, and how long you were told to wear them each day. also, let me know exactly where you are feeling the pain.

Richard, C.Ped

Re: breaking in orthotics

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/30/01 at hrmin (054855)

Two factors which influence the break in period for orthotics:

1)The amount of correction in the orthotic.

2)Flexibility of the patient. A tight gastrosoleus-achilles complex (the muscles and tendons in back of the leg) is one of the biggest factors causing delay in the use of orthotics.

Rarely should heel pain increase though during the break in phase.
Ed

Re: breaking in orthotics

Aaron M. on 8/01/01 at 08:56 (055046)

Thanks for the responses! I've had the orthotics for exactly a week at this point. My doctor suggested wearing them for an hour the first day and increasing that by an hour each day.

As for exacerbating the heal pain, here is what I have found: in the first 5-15 mins after wearing them I experience some heel pain (but nothing like what I have experienced in the past). But after that initial period, the heel pain now goes away. There is still a bit of discomfort in the arch area, but I surmise that has to do with my muscles, etc. adjusting to the shape of the orthotic (I'm completely flat footed).

I am continuing to wear the orthotic (since the heel pain goes away quite quickly) and am supposed to see the doctor in a week's time for a progress report.

I am curious as to how one determines whether an orthotic provides the 'correct' correction.....I was surprised that my doctor didn't do much, if anything, in the way of checking that the orthotics had 'come out right'.

BTW the orthotics are made by Solo, out of graphite it seems, with a softer covering material at the top; the graphite portion only extends to the ball of my foot.

Thanks again for your advice, it is much appreciated.

Re: breaking in orthotics

ross on 8/04/01 at 14:59 (055472)

If you were having good results with the icing and stretching continue this. I found orthotics actually made things worse. Give em a try but if no improvement in 2-3 weeks try something else.

Re: breaking in orthotics

Donna SL on 7/28/01 at 14:21 (054644)

Aaron,

If the orthotics hurt, or cause more discomfort, stop wearing them. They should feel comfortable from the start, and should not cause any pain, other than maybe some general muscle fatigue. Your feet are telling you they are not right, and they may cause permanent injury. They should only help your symptoms, not increase them.

Return to the person who prescribed them, and let them know what is happening. Don't let them try to convice you that this is normal. If they refuse to fix them demand a refund, and go to someone else. Otherwise you may end up having more problems then before you started with them.

If you were beginning to improve without the orthotics, then maybe you don't need them at all. How long were you doing conservative treatments before the orthotics were prescribed?

Donna

Re: breaking in orthotics

Richard, C.Ped on 7/30/01 at 07:48 (054770)

Hi Aaron,
I have to say that it really varies person to person whether they feel comfortable from the start. some people have no problem at all when they first start wearing them. with others, it may take quite a while to get used to them. don't panic right off and demand adjustments. it could very well be the correct prescription for you, but you have to slowly get used to it.

i usually tell my patients to wear them 15 minutes the first day and increase by 15 minutes daily until they feel comfortable. i always insist that they contact me after two weeks for a follow up visit. this way, i can see for myself if something is not right. also, look for any redness where you are feeling the pain. look for any signs of blisters forming.

let me know how long you have had the orthotics, and how long you were told to wear them each day. also, let me know exactly where you are feeling the pain.

Richard, C.Ped

Re: breaking in orthotics

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/30/01 at hrmin (054855)

Two factors which influence the break in period for orthotics:

1)The amount of correction in the orthotic.

2)Flexibility of the patient. A tight gastrosoleus-achilles complex (the muscles and tendons in back of the leg) is one of the biggest factors causing delay in the use of orthotics.

Rarely should heel pain increase though during the break in phase.
Ed

Re: breaking in orthotics

Aaron M. on 8/01/01 at 08:56 (055046)

Thanks for the responses! I've had the orthotics for exactly a week at this point. My doctor suggested wearing them for an hour the first day and increasing that by an hour each day.

As for exacerbating the heal pain, here is what I have found: in the first 5-15 mins after wearing them I experience some heel pain (but nothing like what I have experienced in the past). But after that initial period, the heel pain now goes away. There is still a bit of discomfort in the arch area, but I surmise that has to do with my muscles, etc. adjusting to the shape of the orthotic (I'm completely flat footed).

I am continuing to wear the orthotic (since the heel pain goes away quite quickly) and am supposed to see the doctor in a week's time for a progress report.

I am curious as to how one determines whether an orthotic provides the 'correct' correction.....I was surprised that my doctor didn't do much, if anything, in the way of checking that the orthotics had 'come out right'.

BTW the orthotics are made by Solo, out of graphite it seems, with a softer covering material at the top; the graphite portion only extends to the ball of my foot.

Thanks again for your advice, it is much appreciated.

Re: breaking in orthotics

ross on 8/04/01 at 14:59 (055472)

If you were having good results with the icing and stretching continue this. I found orthotics actually made things worse. Give em a try but if no improvement in 2-3 weeks try something else.