What to Do if Custom Orthotics Hurt Your Feet

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Feb 17, 2016 9:00:00 AM

feet_next_to_orthotic_shoe_insertsFinally! Your custom orthotic shoe inserts are ready for you to pick up. Who knew you could get so excited about orthotic shoe inserts. You’ve been looking forward to them for weeks because you’ll finally be able to manage your foot pain and get back to actually enjoying daily activities – like taking long walks through the park or just standing and watching your child’s soccer game without being distracted by your feet.

You arrive home with your orthotics, slip them into your shoes, and try them on. Hm. Something doesn’t feel quite right. You wiggle your toes inside your shoes, walk around a bit, and then decide you just need time to get used to them. You can’t wait to try them out in the morning.

It’s 6 a.m. and you’re actually welcoming the sound of your alarm because it’s time to go for a morning run in your new custom orthotics! You quickly get dressed, tie your shoes, and hit the pavement.

But something feels off. Your orthotics are not helping your foot pain at all. So you make excuses – maybe it’s the running surface. Maybe it takes a few runs to break them in.

After the third mile you think no way are these orthotic inserts made custom for my feet! Your custom orthotics hurt. In your disappointment you wonder why and what should you do now?

Reasons your orthotics are hurting your feet

The purpose of orthotic shoe inserts it to correct an abnormal or irregular walking pattern caused by your foot not bearing weight properly, and to help your foot function better in general. As your foot rests on the orthotic insert it’s directed into the correct position for walking, running and standing.

Sore muscles

Changing the alignment in your feet changes the way the muscles in your feet are being used. Muscles protest when doing something unfamiliar to them – think about how you feel after a new workout routine at the gym – so your feet may be sore because they are being supported in an area that hasn’t had support in a while, causing them to be tired and achy until they get used to your new orthotics.

They weren’t made correctly for your feet

Custom orthotics are made a couple of different ways: by casting your feet and making a mold or by using the F-Scan, a computerized system that works by slipping an arch with computer chips built in, into the shoe.

As you begin to walk and run the device makes a mini-movie that gathers data and scans showing how pressure is going through your foot. These computer scans are used to create a multi-layered custom orthotics device made for your unique foot shape and to target your specific problem. 

It’s possible the orthotics were poorly casted, there was an error during the scan, bad materials were used, or they just need adjustment.

Improper footwear

Another reason your orthotics aren’t working out may be because you aren’t wearing the right shoes for your feet in the first place. Make sure your shoes aren’t too tight, or worn down and have strong soles that offer some support.

Everyone has their own break-in time to get used to their orthotics, but don’t force yourself to push through the pain. If after a few weeks your custom orthotics are still hurting your feet, you should talk to your podiatrist. If you’re visiting or living in the New York area, consider scheduling an assessment with a podiatrist in NYC at Adler Footcare.

Ultimately, custom orthotics are a short term solution to help manage your foot pain. It may be that orthotics just aren’t right for you, in which case be sure to ask about a remarkable device called HyProCure®. It’s a long term solution that uses a minimally invasive technique to place a small titanium stent into the naturally occurring space between your ankle bone and heel bone to keep the ankle from rolling inward, correcting foot misalignment.

Adler Footcare is classified as a Center of Excellence for HyProCure® implantation, by the Graham International Implant Institute, because of the safety, expertise and experience offered to patients. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.

Learn more in the free eBook available for download below.

Check out these long term vs. short term solutions


Topics: Custom Orthotics, foot pain