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orthotics question for Richard and anyone else who can help

Posted by francesc on 12/30/03 at 14:57 (140961)

I have been going back and forth with my podiatrist trying to get my orthotics adjusted to fit comfortably on my left foot. I have bilateral PF. The right foot orthothic fits fine and has always fit fine.

The current iteration on my left seems better but, still, I have found that if I move my orthotics to a different shoe or tie my shoe a little too tightly then the orthotic hurts in the metatarsal (sp?) area and I currently have pain all along the ligaments from the ball of foot to the heel area. It was very tight and now that I have stayed off my feet it just hurts if I press on them. Because of this, my right foot PF is starting to act up!

So, my questions are:

1. is this normal? I mean, the whole reason for the orthotics was so I could wear them from shoe to shoe. I feel I should be able to move them to another shoe without them biting into the ball of my foot.

2. Is it worth continuing with the podiatrist to get this resolved? Or could I take this directly to a CPed to fix? The problem is that when I go to the Podatrist, he sends them off and I'm without my orthotics for 2 weeks. Normally it's ok but, when I have a flare-up, it's not so good.

3. Should I ask him to re-take the cast of my foot? Is it normal to have to go thru this many adjustments? This will be the 3rd. He already shaved down the length of the plastic once because it was really hurting the ball of my foot.

Thanks in advance,


Re: orthotics question for Richard and anyone else who can help

Pauline on 12/30/03 at 16:45 (140967)

Personally I think you should continue with the same Podiatrist because I think you will find it very difficult to find anyone who will adjust someone elses orthotics. Chances are you'll end up with a second pair.

I think you will begin to find that getting a comfortable fit is going to be up to YOU hanging in there and asking for all the adjustments and retakes necessary. If you let the ball drop and say your just going to live with them the way they are that's exactly what you'll get.

Sooner or later I think your Pod will grow tired of your return visits so get as much help as you can while he is still willing to make the changes.

The difference in comfort level could be directly related to the fact that one foot has a more severe case of P.F. and it may never feel comfortable in an orthotic, but it certainly shouldn't bit with pain.

The bottom line is that you should get what you paid for and yes most people are able to use their orthotics in compairable shoes. A woman for instance would not be able to switch her orthotic from a running shoe to a heel.

Keep at it and hopefully you will be rewarded with some degree of comfort. Don't be afraid to suggest a new casting if that will make you feel better. Who knows it could be part of the solution your seeking.

Re: orthotics question for Richard and anyone else who can help

Carole C in NOLA on 12/30/03 at 17:00 (140970)

Oh gosh, francesc, I don't know that moving orthotics from one shoe to another is a very good idea at all, especially since you are having trouble with yours. Richard is the expert but it seems to me that the orthotics and the shoe work together and that changing shoes could require some adjustment of the orthotic to get the exact same effect.

I do know that I have the best orthotics ever made (in my humble opinion) and when I put them in other shoes they STINK (well, not literally, but they don't work the same for my feet at all and don't do me any good). So, I keep them in the horrible ugly shoes they were originally fitted in, and just wear them when I am feeling humble about fashion concerns.

Richard won't tell you this, because he's a nice guy and not self-absorbed, but I've got to tell you that I think expert C.Peds are often more skillful at fitting orthotics than are expert podiatrists. The reason is that fitting orthotics is what C.Peds do all day long every day. Podiatrists have lots of training but they also do lots of things, like diagnose for example. Fitting orthotics is an art.

CArole C

Carole C

Re: orthotics question for Richard and anyone else who can help

Richard, C.Ped on 12/31/03 at 09:05 (140995)

I have to be honest and say that is a big problem when having your orthotics sent off to be made. You do not get the quality of service from a local professional. That person at the lab does not know you from Adam. Some say they have to wait two weeks to even receive their orthosis. I think that is inexcusable.

I will only work on an orthosis such as yours with a prescription from the original doctor. That orthosis is made (supposedly) to the doctors prescription. I would have to get permission to adjust it so I would not step on the doctors toes.

Here are a couple of options:
Ask if you can have a local C.Ped adjust the orthosis. See if the doctor will write a prescription to do so. If he does, more than likely it will be vague such as: 'please adjust orthosis to fit'. Thats all it should take.

If the doc insists that only the lab that made the orthosis adjusts it, demand that they be sent off via overnight shipping and returned the same way at their expense. Couldn't hurt to ask.

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

francesc on 12/31/03 at 10:45 (141002)

Richard, Carole, and Pauline:

Thanks for your replies! I am most grateful to get some other advice from others in the same situation.

I will do as you advise, Richard, and continue with my pod. I have an apptmt on Monday and will ask for the adjustment to be made and perhaps ask for a CPed adjustment or a new casting. My left foot's PF is not worse than my right. It's just that my right foot has a lift and sits differently on it than my left foot.

As for the suggestion that I not move them from shoe to shoe, that just doesn't seem right after paying $250 for a pair of orthotics. I understand that I'm going to keep them in the shoe that works right now but, one day my NB running shoes are going to wear out and I will have to get another pair of shoes. And with running shoes, they come and they go. They shouldn't be that sensitive. I should be able to put them in another pair of athletic shoes.

If this doesn't work out with my Pod, I will go to a CPed anyway even if it means another pair of orthotics. It will be worth it to me to have a set of happy feet. I am 38-years-old and I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. I would like to be able to take my kids to Disneyland someday.

Anyway, thanks for all your advice. I really appreciate it.

RICHARD: where are you? I live in San Jose, California. I don't suppose you are anywhere nearby? :-)

Thanks again,

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

Ron B on 1/01/04 at 22:12 (141101)

I can take my orthotics out of any of my shoes and put it in another pair. I wear tennis shoes for everyday life, a diferent pair of tennis shoes at work and then my dress shoes. I use my orthotics in all of them with no problem
Ron B

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

Julie on 1/02/04 at 02:43 (141122)

Ron, you're a man, and it's a bit different for women. Most men's shoes are pretty much the same shape (more or less foot-shape). An orthotic that fits one is more than likely to fit another. But the difference in shape and size between a tennis or running shoe and a woman's dress shoe is huge. An orthotic can't be expected to fit both.

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

Richard, C.Ped on 1/02/04 at 08:35 (141135)

Athletic shoes are pretty similar inside. They are usually called a 'sock lasted shoe'. The orthosis 'should' go in and out of different athletic shoes with no problem. Sometimes though, you will come across a pair that the orthosis just does not sit as it should. Try to stick with the same brand and style if possible.

Men are easy to fit. We only wear...what...2-3 pair? Women are much harder due to the fashion changes out there. We are limited as to what we can fit the orthosis to.

Sorry Frances...I am in little ole South Carolina. :-(

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

Pauline on 1/02/04 at 11:19 (141154)

I have a nephew living in Calif. who developed a really bad case of P.F.
We invited he and his wife to visit us in Florida last Spring and that's when I saw his orthotics.

He had them made in Anaheim. I've seen my share of orthotics, but I have to tell you I was really impressed by the pair that he had.

They looked like a custom Birk insert. Made of cork with very soft padding on the top.

I have had three pair of custom orthotics made and have yet been able to wear any of them, but after seeing my nephew's I am thinking of flying out to Anaheim and having another pair made.

Please understand I have no connection to the person making the orthotics, but my nephew has had great success with them.

Here is the mans name and address:
Franks Fitted Arches
(714) 826-2100
2795-H West Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, Calif 92801

My nephew told me that Frank is from Germany, maybe that is why his orthotics look soooo much like custom Birkinstocks inserts accept better.

Remember I'm just giving you information and make NO income from passing on this gentleman's name. I've never seen the man. If you decide to use him please do your homework and find out more about what he can offer you. As I say I was impressed by the product I saw because it was different than any I'd seen before. My nephew said Frank took his time fitting and making any adjustments necessary for him. So for what it's worth I pass this guys name along to you. Your a lot closer than I am, but honestly someday I'm going to see Frank. We're heading to Hawaii shortly and I just might make a long stop over visit to him. When I spoke to him by phone he was very accommodating.

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

Carole C in NOLA on 1/02/04 at 12:40 (141163)

Pauline, you should do that! If you're going to Hawaii, you'll probably be flying through Los Angeles anyway. It might not add any more to the cost of your trip, than one night's hotel and the orthotics.

I hope they work for you!

Carole C

Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

francesc on 1/02/04 at 17:54 (141181)


i was trying to move them from my NB to a pair of Ryka cross-trainers. i also only try putting my orthotics into a pair of Annapolis Birkenstocks. i would never try putting them into a pair of dress shoes.


Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

francesc on 1/02/04 at 17:56 (141182)


thanks for your response. well, i'm a little bit away from Anaheim but, i think i have seen someone at my gym who has a pair of cork orthotics. you are right when you say they look like Birkenstock insoles. hers did too. she had them fitted at her chiropractors office.

i have found several CPeds in my area and i think if i go that route, one of the first questions i'll ask them is what type of orthotic do you make or recommend for PF sufferers? i just think my hard plastic ones are too hard for me.


Re: Thanks for your prompt replies!

Pauline on 1/02/04 at 20:46 (141194)

Unfortunately it would be longer than a one night stay. It usually takes him more than a week to make the orthotics although he told me he would give mine immediate attention. In addition, I'd want to wear them through the break in period to see if any adjustments were needed before I left town so I'd probably stay in town for about 2 weeks then fly on to Maui.

Fortunately we have plenty of friends and family in Calif. who don't mind putting us up. We will also be in Vegas later this year and that too is just a short drive or flight away. I just have to call him to make an appointment. He said he would work with me anytime I wanted to come. Can't ask for more service than that.