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Answer to Dud's Question

Posted by Robert J on 1/17/05 at 13:58 (167404)


Sorry for the delay, I have been out of town for a few days. You asked about my recovery and whether I quit orthotics cold turkey. Yes, indeed, I did. After I started the exercise program, which was accompanied by a twice daily stretching program, my instincts told me that the orthotics were not helping and might even be hurting my recovery. I had been wearing prescription orthotics on one kind or another for about a year and a half. So, in a moment that left me a bit breathless, I pulled them out of my shoes and tossed them in the closet. Then I waited to see if the sky would fall.

It didn't. I never noticed any ill effects of being without orthotic support. In fact, I think tossing the orthoics speeded up my recovery because my feet were being forced to support themselves and therefore strengthened more rapidly. Keep in mind that my program was not radical but very gradual, so I was never overwhelming my feet with added stress.

After the good results with tossing orthotics, I began to experiment with walking barefoot--another big no-no in the PF recovery canon. And again, no ill effect. Now I walk barefoot all the time and my feet seem to love it.

I have no idea whether other sufferers will respond as I did. I suspect many will not. But I am an atypical Pfer, i.e., I don't have first step pain and have little insertional pain. Mostly my pain was spread through the arch. Also, like you, I have high arches, altho I don't have the 'wobble' effect you described. Maybe your orthotics did, indeed, tilt you towards the outside.

I strongly suspect that atypical symptons suggest a different pathology and will often require a different treatment approach. In my case, this was the approach that worked. One last bit that might help: with me, the exercise-stretching program showed results fairly quickly, within two weeks. Total recovery took about three months. So I don't think you have to wait a long time to see if the exercise,stretching, walking, no orthotics approach works. If it doesn't help in a month or so, I'd say toss it out and try the next thing.

Re: Walking Barefoot

Marre on 1/17/05 at 17:18 (167420)

Aha! I was about to post a question regarding this. My PF is 95% better and for a long time I avoided going barefoot or with socks because I had heard you 'shouldn't.' However, I recently decided to try it and my feet feel great! I have no ill effects. I wouldn't run a marathon barefoot, but it seems to strengthen my feet in addition to Julie's yoga exercises and other strengthening exercises.

I too have high arches and did not have atypical PF pain, although I did at first. As it healed, the pain became more concentrated in the arch and only hurt when I pressed on it (of course I felt compelled to press on it 'just to see'. My recovery has taken about four months, but unlike you, I think my orthotics are really helping. I saw the biggest difference in pain relief after I starting wearing them.

Re: Orthotic freedom day for me too!

Tina H on 1/17/05 at 21:11 (167432)

I read your comments with interest because recently I've started to feel like my orthotics were impeading my recovery. For me I think I needed them when my feet were really bad, but now that I'm doing better, I feel that the orthotics were causing a different kind of pain especially in my non ESWT foot. So today I did the stationary bike wearing new new balance walkers and went to the mall and wore Brooks walkers and quess what, no pain!!! I'm still pro orthotics, because they have helped me over the years, but for some reason now my feet feel better(fine) without them.
What a twisted tale it is trying to cure oneself of pf!! Bonne Chance! Tina

Re: Orthotic freedom day for me too!

Dr. Z on 1/17/05 at 22:41 (167434)

Glad you are now doing well. Try to avoid those long mall trips they will impede your healing for 12 weeks post ESWT

Re: to Dr. Z

Tina H on 1/18/05 at 07:04 (167441)

Hello Dr Z-
I had my ESWT done last July so I'm way past the 12 week mark but my foot continues to improve. I now have almost no pain unless I over do it, just a remaining stiffness. I even survived a trip to Europe in December and we did a lot of walking- that made me realize how much the average working parent walks on an every day basis! Thanks for all of your help over the last several months. I still learn something from this site every week! Tina

Re: Walking Barefoot

Rose on 1/18/05 at 11:51 (167464)

Yes. I had surgery 1 1/2 years ago and haveexperienced a very slow healing. I have been going barefooted arond the house a lot lately and have seen a lot of improvement. So I thought this was very interesting. Apparently it does strenghten the foot and helps in some cases.