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View Full Version : Are foot orthotics supposed to hurt?


freckafree
07-29-2008, 08:44 AM
I need to get new orthotics. I've been fighting with the ones I have for five years. The left one is pretty tolerable. The right one hurts. I had the right one adjusted once right after I got them, and when it still continued to bother me, the guy said, "You just need to get used to it."

The damn thing has never NOT hurt my arch, and before I go through this again, I want to know if it is unreasonable to expect that my orthotics should not cause pain.

Eva Luna
07-29-2008, 09:04 AM
I've been there. I'm waiting for my 3rd pair to be made right now. Every time I've started wearing a new pair, my leg muscles are sore until they adjust to the new balance/gait. But having them hurt for the entire time that you wear them seems wrong - what does your doc say?

Swallowed My Cellphone
07-29-2008, 09:08 AM
IANAD, but IMHO five years of discomfort is excessive. I'd get a second opinion to make sure there is no other issue that hasn't yet been diagnosed and/or that there was no defect in your foot mould or the orthodic itself.

Eg/ a teammate of mine has plantar fasciitis that was discovered after he got orthodics for a separate issue. The orthodics didn't cause the fasciitis, but he sure noticed it a lot more when he got them.

Duck Duck Goose
07-29-2008, 09:35 AM
"You just need to get used to it."
This is bullshit, pardon my french. I too have custom orthotics, and yeah, you sometimes need to walk on them for a week or so before they get broken in, but...years? No way. Find another provider.

I got a pair once that hurt my left foot--no, actually, it wasn't that it actively hurt, it was only that it "...wasn't quite right", and after a week it was still uncomfortable, so I went back, and the PT guy had to rebuild the entire thing from scratch because it had a custom cookie. But he did it, and he got it right that time, and they didn't charge me extra. Because the whole point is to relieve you from pain, and if the gizmo he gives you causes you pain, then it's not working right and needs to be fixed.

And it's Dr. Wendell Becton, Sports Medicine Doctor Extraordinaire, if ya wanna come over here and consult with him.

Lanzy
07-29-2008, 09:48 AM
Mine hurt for a couple of months but 5 years? Something is waay wrong. yeah, you need to start over.

Swallowed My Cellphone
07-29-2008, 09:56 AM
...so I went back, and the PT guy had to rebuild the entire thing from scratch because it had a custom cookie. But he did it, and he got it right that time, and they didn't charge me extra. Because the whole point is to relieve you from pain, and if the gizmo he gives you causes you pain, then it's not working right and needs to be fixed.I got my orthodics from a podiatrist who works out of a sportsmed clinic. Once your orthodics are paid for, adjustments don't cost extra, even if he has to have it completely rebuilt by the lab.

Interesting to note: Many clinics take the mould of your foot by having you stand in a box of memory foam. My podiatrist makes the mould while you sit on an examination table with you ankles sticking over the edge. He said that if I was standing, my feet would be carrying a load and would be flatter. His plaster-wrap moulds were taken without any weight or pressure loading the architecture of my feet, to be sure they were in a truly neutral, relaxed position. ETA: I had to get the left foot adjusted. It took me about a week and a half to get used to them so I could jog five miles and determine that the left foot wasn't right.

Years of discomfort is just too weird. Like eye glasses, prescriptions for orthodics do change over time, so someone should be re-evaluating your gait, making a new mould of your foot, and ruling out any other conditions like bone spurs or fasciitis in case there is something else going on.

Eva Luna
07-29-2008, 10:16 AM
Interesting to note: Many clinics take the mould of your foot by having you stand in a box of memory foam. My podiatrist makes the mould while you sit on an examination table with you ankles sticking over the edge. He said that if I was standing, my feet would be carrying a load and would be flatter. His plaster-wrap moulds were taken without any weight or pressure loading the architecture of my feet, to be sure they were in a truly neutral, relaxed position.

Depends on the issue that creates the need for orthotics. Mine are mostly to compensate for reduced range of motion in my left ankle from an old injury and resulting piles of surgery and scar tissue, so they do a cast with the memory foam, and in addition, they have me walk barefoot with my normal gait onto some stuff kind of like carbon paper, so they can see where my gait needs to be corrected to compensate for the spots where my limited range of motion puts excess pressure on spots in my foot where it doesn't belong. So a non-weight-bearing mold wouldn't tell the whole story.

Swallowed My Cellphone
07-29-2008, 11:20 AM
So a non-weight-bearing mold wouldn't tell the whole story.Yes, sorry. I didn't mean to imply that one method was "right" or "better", but that something may have been amiss with the OP's initial assessment. Either a condition was missed, the wrong type of mould and/or or orthodic was made (standing vs. sitting), or something just went plain haywire when it was manufactured.

Or that right now there is some little, old lady somewhere, with feet two sizes smaller, is looking at her right orthodic and saying: "Man, my right orthodic hurts my foot. You'd think it was designed for someone else! And why is 'freckafree' engraved in the bottom?"

At the sportsmed clinic, it turned out that a tiny detail I mentioned offhandedly radically changed his diagnosis and the course of treament. We were just about done with my appointment and then I made some quip that described my "discomfort" differently and he stopped dead in his tracks and said: "Wait, then that's a whole different ballgame!" It was a tiny detail, but it turned out to be significant.

Acsenray
07-29-2008, 11:44 AM
I've been wearing orthotics since the early 1990s, and they've never hurt.

freckafree
07-29-2008, 11:55 AM
And it's Dr. Wendell Becton, Sports Medicine Doctor Extraordinaire, if ya wanna come over here and consult with him.

Thanks for the suggestion, but that's a bit for me to walk, especially since my right foot hurts...

Many clinics take the mould of your foot by having you stand in a box of memory foam. My podiatrist makes the mould while you sit on an examination table with you ankles sticking over the edge. He said that if I was standing, my feet would be carrying a load and would be flatter.

That makes sooooo much sense -- especially since my orthotics are to correct for "flat, flexible feet."

Thanks for all the input, Dopers. I feel like an idiot for putting up with this for five years, and I sure as hell won't do the same this time.

Bobotheoptimist
07-29-2008, 12:28 PM
Maybe for a week, but 5 years seems excessive. I've had ok luck at some of those strip-mall custom orthotics stores, although insurance doesn't cover them they work better than anything the doctor came up with for my flat feet.
YMMV, of course.

Duck Duck Goose
07-29-2008, 10:12 PM
Interesting to note: Many clinics take the mould of your foot by having you stand in a box of memory foam.
My guy has left foot/right foot insole orthotic blanks that he puts in the microwave for 2 minutes. It softens it up. Then he has this frame made out of 2 x 4s, with a squooshy mat, and feet painted on it. He puts the softened blanks on there, one at a time, and you step up onto the softened insole on the mat on the frame, and stand there for a long count of 60 while he holds your foot in the correct position and the blank cools. Result: an insole custom-molded to the bottom of your weight-bearing foot. Very nifty. Then he can insert cookies into the insole (it's in layers, so he just splits the layers) if you need additional adjustments. Freckafree might wanna look for a sports medicine guy or podiatrist who has this kind of tech.

ETA: And they told me that yeah, you do need to have your feet re-evaluated every couple of years, especially if you're on your feet a lot, and/or do a lot of walking or jogging, because your feet can change. So five years, in retrospect, seems like a long time to go without an update.

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