Few months back, one of my friends told me about his issue of knee pain and tightness in his legs. His doctor suggested him to use custom orthotics to get relief from his knee pain. So, since last 3 months he is using this custom-made orthotics for his feet.
His doctor has also told him to keep this pair of orthotics on his feet all day without any break. It has helped him to some extent in getting proper posture and stability during walking and while sitting on the floor. I have seen that the orthotics he is using is keeping his feet from overpronation and it is providing good support for sure.
But the main issue here is not that the orthotics is taking care of his knee pain. In fact, there are lots of folks out there who are just like my friend. They also have to use their orthotics all the time because their respective doctors have recommended them to do so.
Should I have to use orthotics all the time on my feet? This is the question that today I would like to discuss more about in this article. So, without further delay let us see what is the best answer to this query. Before answering this question, let me ask you one more question.
Do You Feel Pain After Wearing Orthotics?
According to this article from a science writer Paul Ingraham from Painscience.com, most orthotics are not risk free. Most of these custom-made orthotics are still very difficult to adjust to our body. They just make conditions worse by disrupting our fine-tuned body postures when we wear them for a longer duration.
Many people have experienced that long term use of orthotics just makes your foot problem worse. So, it is always advisable to not use the orthotics for longer duration. To answer the above question, I just want to say that every new pair of orthotics you use on your feet takes some time to break-in properly.
According to the article published on Vasportsmedicine.com, it is very clear that the new orthotics are designed to offer maximum comfort and right biomechanical control to reduce your foot pain gradually. But your body takes some time to adjust with this new foot posture.
If you do not follow the company recommended break-in program initially, then your feet may experience more discomfort and pain. If you are not careful enough, your feet may get some injury as well.
So, the answer to the above question is yes. You can feel some pain and discomfort when you initially wear orthotics. It happens so because it takes some time for your body to adjust with this new orthotic product.
Does Wearing Orthotics too long Cause Any Health Problems?
Many people are scared to use orthotics for their feet because they believe that their feet can become addictive to the usage of orthotics. And without it, the feet will experience more pain when you get used to it.
Are there any side effects of wearing orthotics all the time? This is the actual question that you should ask to your doctor when he/she prescribes you the usage of orthotics or special orthopedic insoles for your injured or painful feet.
According to the article published by Dr. Jeffrey Adler on Mynycpodiatrist.com, there are 3 primary reasons that are responsible for physical pain and discomfort for your feet once you start wearing orthotic shoe inserts or insoles.
1. Your Feet Muscles are Sored
When your doctor has assigned you to use orthotics for your feet, they are meant to improve your walking and running pattern. But first time when you start using insoles or shoe orthotics, your feet muscles begin to experience pain and tiredness.
Your muscles become sore because they are not used to the usage of orthotics. This is the reason most people experience pain and discomfort in the beginning of its usage. Watch the following video to understand why your feet become sored after constant use of orthotics.
2. You are Using Inappropriate Shoes
If you are using too tight or very old footwear for your feet, then also your orthotics can cause harm to your feet muscles. Sometimes people use shoes that possess hard outsoles.
This could also lead to more painful and uncomfortable experience later on. Using right sized shoes with soft soles is really necessary if you want to use orthotics for your feet for long term.
3. Wrongly Manufactured Custom Orthotics
Most of the custom made orthotics are either manufactured with the help of F-Scan computerized system or by making a mold of your foot size manually. There is a possibility of committing errors while recording your foot size data or during the scanning procedure when your foot is analysed using F-Scan system.
It might happen that poor quality material may be used during the manufacturing of these custom made orthotics for your feet. Sometimes, these types of manufactured insoles or orthotics require some prior adjustments before you use them for your feet.
So, the answer to the question “Does Orthotics Cause Any Health Problems If Used for Too Long?” is yes and no both. Because if your podiatrist has prescribed you the rightly made custom orthotics for your feet, then your feet will not feel any discomfort in the short run. But for the long run it can become a health problem for yourself.
Because getting used to something unnatural product which is not a part of your body always leads to possible health complications later on. According to the research published by Dr. Rock Positano on HSS.Edu, it is very much clear now that improperly made orthotics can lead to pain and discomfort for sure.
During this research study, one of the doctor’s patient experienced a broken bone due to consistently using improperly prescribed orthotics for his feet. Therefore, as per Dr. Positano’s views, unnecessarily prescribed or wrongly prepared custom orthotics are more dangerous for your health. So yes, long term use of orthotics can cause certain health problems in some people.
What Will Happen If I Stop Wearing My Orthotics?
People go for the option of using orthotics when they start experiencing extreme foot pain, knee pain, heel pain, hip or back pain and also foot ailments like bunions and hammertoes. When you consult with your podiatrist, some of them suggest you the constant usage of custom orthotics in order to solve your foot pain problem.
Some doctors suggest long term usage of orthotics in order to solve your foot pain and foot ailment issue. But as per the research data from various reliable online sources which we have referenced above, it is very much clear that the long term usage of custom orthotics can lead to more harm than making your situation better.
Many folks get irritated or frustrated after using orthotics for few weeks. Some of them abruptly stop using them due to feeling of discomfort and pain in certain parts of their feet. But if you want to stop using orthotics, you need to first consult with your podiatrist before making any final decision.
Moderate use of orthotics is recommended by the podiatrist Dr. Richard Blake on his blog. When you run or take part in outdoor activities, it is recommended to use orthotics to relieve from your foot pain. You do not have to completely stop using it for your feet.
I recommend you to watch the following video to discover the best way to use orthotics and pros and cons of using it for your feet.
Sometimes you can go barefoot, sometimes you do not have to use orthotics for your shoes. Even if you want to stop using it completely, you must first overview your foot condition. If your foot pain is reduced after using such shoe inserts for few months, then you can consult with your podiatrist to either change your current pair of insoles or to stop using the current one.
In either case, if you stop using orthotic product suddenly then your foot pain can be worsened in some cases. If you are suffering from knee pain, back pain or hip pain, then you should think twice before abruptly stop using orthotics. Because your feet get used to the usage of custom insoles. In this case, I believe it is safe to slowly and gradually reduce the usage of insoles, shoe inserts or any type of orthotic product.
In case, you really want to get rid of your orthotics, I recommend you do it slowly by analysing your foot response gradually. The best way to stop using orthotics and get over your foot pain is to start walking and running barefoot for few months or on a regular basis.
As per the experience shared by the forum member at Startingstrength.com, he was able to overcome the use of orthotics once he started to run and walk barefoot. The use of minimalist shoes like Vibram Fivefingers also helped him a lot to overcome the addiction of using orthotics. He is now completely free from the use of orthotics and he has never experienced any kind of foot pain once he started to use minimalist shoes for barefoot running and walking.
From the above discussion, it is crystal clear now that using custom made orthotics can help you in the short term for sure. It can help you deal with your problem of foot pain, knee pain, heel pain, etc. But for long run, it is not completely beneficial for your overall health.
The best recommendation here is to use it moderately and start reducing the usage of orthotics gradually. Go for best quality minimalist shoes and start walking and running barefoot. This is the best solution to reduce the usage of orthotics and get relief from your foot pain and other foot conditions.