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orthotics hurt!

Posted by anne on 10/12/03 at 21:37 (133799)

hi everyone,

I was just wondering if your orthotics are meant to hurt before they make your feet better. I've tried to wear my orthotics in a few times now (gradually increasing the number of hours i wear them each day) but the pain just increases week after week, and when I take a 'break' from trying to wear them in, the pain gradually lessens until its back to its 'baseline' level of pain.

Has anyone else experienced more pain wearing orthotics? Is that common during the breaking in period?

I dont understand why my orthotics hurt more, because i have flat feet and so they are meant to help :(

Re: orthotics hurt!

Dr. Z on 10/12/03 at 22:13 (133803)

Time to go back to the foot doctor. They can hurt but over a few weeks the pain and your wearing time should increase.

Re: orthotics hurt!

nancy s. on 10/13/03 at 04:04 (133811)

also, anne, have you had your orthotics adjusted at all? some people need several adjustments before the pain lessens and you're finally able to break the orthotics in. like you, i have flat feet, and finally had a wonderful pair of orthotics made by a great orthotist -- but my arches never were able to stand that much support. it made sense that they should have that kind of support, but the arch pain wasn't relieved despite several adjustments.

i live in birkenstocks now but encourage you to give the orthotics every chance to work. you shouldn't be hurting as much as it sounds, though, so it's time for adjustments or, as dr z says, a re-evaluation by your podiatrist or sports med doc.


Re: orthotics hurt!

Richard, C.Ped on 10/13/03 at 10:16 (133837)

If your doctor did not test for fore foot varus...ask about it. the majority of the time, people with flat feet will have fore foot varus. This means if you were standing with your feet in the sub talor neutral position, the ball of your big toe would be off the floor. This should be posted for when making an orthosis. Basically, there should be material added to that area to bring the floor to the foot.

people with ffv complain about the orthosis hurting and that the arch seems to high.

you might want to check into this.

Re: orthotics hurt!

francesc on 10/13/03 at 15:44 (133875)


i'm in the same boat as you! i got my orthotics and after wearing them for a few days, my PF seemed WORSE than before i started wearing them. when i backed off of wearing them, my feet felt better. i went back to my podiatrist and he is having them adjusted.

apparently, i have a very prominent plantar ligament/tendon (which is it?) and when i flex my foot, it protrudes. at least he believes that is the problem. so, he is having them modify the orthotic to accomodate that. i am hoping that does the trick. i am still recovering from wearing the bad orthotic.

but definitely, i think you need to go back and tell your doctor that it is worse now than before.


Re: thanks everyone

anne on 10/14/03 at 20:59 (134004)

thanks everyone, i think i will go back and have them readjusted again. I went back to have them adjusted once (5 weeks after getting them) and i went back again last week (10 weeks after getting them), but the second time i went back my podiatrist said that he'd made all the 3-4 adjustments that he saw fit the first time, so he wouldn't adjust them again. Maybe i'll just have to be more demanding next time, cos they still hurt!!
He suggested a night splint instead.

How long did you try wearing in your orthotics until you went back frances? Let us know if the adjustments make it any better!


Re: thanks everyone

francesc on 10/15/03 at 15:31 (134059)


i wore them about a week. the first few days, i wore them so little i couldn't really tell if i was over-doing it or if it was the orthotics. so i backed off one day and then re-wore them where i was on my feet for a full 2-3 hours making dinner, etc and my feet were killing me the next day.

so since i wasn't walking and i only wore them at home, i figured that it was not just being on my feet (because i can normally do that without having that kind of pain).

i will let you know if the adjustments make them better. i am hopeful but not banking on it. if it's what he said it was, then theoretically i should feel the pain in the other foot as well. i am also planning on asking him for a referal for physical therapy.

if your doctor refuses, go to another doctor. this is really inexcusable. the orthotics should not make your feet feel worse.

good luck and stand firm! can you bring someone with you to visit this doctor? it helps to have an advocate on your side to help push your point across. also, if it's a male friend/spouse/relative you bring, i think you'll also get better results.

i know it's not PC but i feel a lot of doctors don't take me seriously because i'm female. i won't even tell you the kind of smirk i almost got when he found out i was a stay-at-home mom. it's not like i can take 'disability' or call in sick.


Re: thanks everyone

anne on 10/15/03 at 20:07 (134081)

yeah, I think a lot of people don't realise that being a stay-at-home mum is a 24 hour job! My mum stays at home and she definately 'works' no less than my dad.

I'll go back and speak to the podiatrist. It's a little off putting though, because I haven't had great experiences with podiatrists in the past. The last guy I saw was a 'sports' podiatrist and refused to do anything beyond giving me orthotics because night splints, injections, massage etc. is what 'athletes' would do and I certainly was no 'athlete'!!

Anyway, good luck with your doctor :)


Re: orthotics hurt!

Darlene M. on 8/24/08 at 17:27 (249573)

I got my orthotics 3 weeks ago and now the foot that was bothering me in the beginning (was told I have flat feet) is really ouching me.
The pain is in my outside arch and even travels up to my ankle and sometimes further up my leg! After reading this board have decided to give my self a break and stop wearing my orthotics and go back to the 'store-bought' ones I got while waiting on the orthics to be made. My doctor has ordered a 2 phase bone scan to rule out a stress fracture. I have that test tomorrow but now I am wondering if my problem is my orthotics need adjusted. Will keep you all posted.

Re: orthotics hurt!

LeahS on 6/02/09 at 07:45 (257879)

I have had several orthodics over the past 3 years and surgery on my right foot for plantars fasciitis. I suggest you first try temporary orthodics obtained from a home medical store before you and your insurance company pays for something that may not help at all. My foot doctor is still trying to get me to purchase even more now. My feet still hurt and nothing seems to help. My next appointment is next week and I am going to demand another approach or Im going to ask for a refferal to pain management. Although orthodics do help a lot of people, but im not one of them.