Orthotics are given to people to help treat pain and symptoms of various foot-related issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunion pain, and metatarsalgia. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case, and people will experience further pain after receiving orthotics. In our latest blog, we will discuss the reasons you might be experiencing pain after receiving orthotics and what you can do to prevent this pain.
The reasons for pain after wearing orthotics
When you begin using orthotics, it is expected that you will initially experience some level of discomfort while your feet adjust to the new shape in which your feet are being held while under pressure; however, you shouldn’t feel any pain. If you are feeling pain after wearing your orthotics for a period of time, it’s likely because of one of the following common reasons:
- The orthotic is being used with improper footwear – Bad shoes and improper footwear use with orthotics can lead to pain in your foot, and often worsen the problem. Generally, sneakers or trainers with a wide toe box and an already removable insole are the best shoes to apply custom orthotics.
- The orthotic was not properly designed or made to suit your foot needs – To receive the most beneficial effects from orthotics, you should have them designed and tailored to your requirements and foot shape. Store-bought, generic orthotics are often not right for the process and could even exacerbate the problems you are facing. To have custom-made orthotics, you should first undergo a full biomechanical assessment so that your podiatrist can fully understand your needs and design the orthotic to suit you.
- You haven’t broken in your orthotic – A newly purchased or made orthotic will often require a little time to be “broken in”. This means that new orthotics should at first only be worn for a shorter amount of time to allow your feet to adjust more gradually to the change the orthotic is providing.
What are the side effects of orthotics?
In health care, there isn’t anything that is entirely risk-free, and this goes for podiatry and orthotic use as well. High-quality, custom-made orthotics however, do come with minimal risks and few instances of negative side effects. Some side effects that can be felt from orthotics are:
• Compensatory injuries – As mentioned previously, the body will require some time to adjust to the new orthotic and the way it is changing your natural gait. The orthotic will sometimes make changes or adjustments to your limbs, and this could lead to increased pressure and perhaps some discomfort in your lower limbs, back or feet.
• Increased soreness – Depending on the design of your orthotics, you may experience some muscle soreness. This is because orthotics change your gait and makes certain muscles work harder than they perhaps once were.
• Loss of sensation – In high-pressure areas or tight-fitting footwear, orthotics could promote a decreased sense of feeling or sensation in your feet. When being fitted for orthotics, you should ensure that your shoes are the best fit they can be to prevent this tightness and high-pressure areas.
How to prevent pain when wearing orthotics
When wearing orthotics, there are a couple of good practices you can take to prevent pain and discomfort. Firstly, allow your body time to adjust, whether that be to custom-made orthotics or basic, store-bought orthotics. It will usually take somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks for your body to adjust correctly to the new orthotics and the changes they are making on your body. During this period, you should try to follow the following guidelines:
- Begin by wearing your orthotics for only an hour at first and slowly increase this time as the discomfort begins to fade.
- Do not use your orthotics when exercising or performing strenuous activities until your body has fully adjusted and you no longer feel discomfort when wearing your orthotics.
- Allow your body to recover and rest in between using your orthotics.
- If you are still feeling pain or discomfort after 2-3 weeks, visit your podiatrist to adjust your orthotics. If you have generic store-bought variations, perhaps consider visiting a podiatrist for a complete gait analysis and some custom-made orthotics.
- Take proper care of your orthotics. Over time, using your orthotics regularly will damage and change their shape; it’s inevitable that wear and tear will set in. Correct maintenance and taking care of your orthotics can help to prevent this.
Are custom orthotics worth the price?
If you have had a full biomechanical assessment and your podiatrist has suggested the use of orthotics, you should follow their advice. Custom-made orthotics are slightly more expensive than their generic, store-bought counterparts, but they are definitely worth the price.
Custom orthotics are far more superior at treating the problems you are facing when compared to the generic versions. Custom-built phits orthotics are some of the best on the market and will most definitely pay for themselves in the long run with their high quality and durability.
If you feel you could benefit from orthotics, contact us for a full assessment and analysis of your feet, we will be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
How are orthotics made?
Custom orthotics are made from a 3D impression of the feet, where a podiatrist begins with a thorough assessment of the feet, where they will take the measurements, conduct gait analysis and determine the specific foot condition.
Pre-fabricated inserts are available in all different sizes and designs to suit everyone.
How long do orthotics last?
Several factors contribute to the lifespan of orthotics, such as the amount of use, body weight, activity level and the quality of the materials used. Custom orthotics are estimated to last around 2-5 years, while pre-fabricated orthotics may not last as long. Everyone’s orthotics are different. While some people may only have to replace them every 4 years, others might occasionally have to replace them.
Can orthotics be used in all types of shoes?
Although orthotics can be used in multiple types of shoes, they may not be suitable for all types of shoes. It is recommended to bring the shoes you will be wearing the most to your initial consultation with the podiatrist to ensure the best fit.
Does insurance cover orthotics?
The coverage of insurance depends on your insurance provider. Custom orthotics may be fully or partially covered if they are seen as a medical necessity. Additionally, pre-fabricated orthotics are not usually covered by insurance providers. It is best to check with your insurance provider to determine whether they contribute to this.
Can I purchase orthotics without a prescription?
Custom orthotics cannot be purchased without a prescription from a podiatrist, whilst some pre-fabricated orthotics can be purchased over the counter.
*This blog contains general information about medical conditions and is not advice. You must not rely upon the information in this blog as medical advice. Medical advice should always be sought from an appropriately qualified podiatrist such as ourselves.