If you've been suffering from aches and pains in your feet or legs, then you may have seen a podiatrist who recommended that you wear orthotic inserts. These devices can modify foot and walking problems; their support also usually makes things more comfortable.
While you may have expected your orthotic to give you instant relief, this doesn't always happen. In some cases, people find it hard to adapt to wearing an orthotic, and others start to have pain or discomfort in different areas. How can you work out what's wrong?
Have You Worn Your Orthotic in?
Sometimes, it takes time for your body to get used to having an orthotic supporting one of your feet. If the device is there to address a foot or gait problem, then your body has to change shape when you have the insert in. It can take time for your muscles to get used to being in the correct position.
If you wear your orthotic all of the time as soon as you get it, then parts of your foot, legs, hips or back may hurt. To ease this discomfort, podiatrists often recommend that you don't wear the insert all the time to start with. It may be easier on your body if you wear the orthotic for a couple of hours a day to start with and gradually increase the time you wear it every few days.
Are Your Shoes Suitable?
Orthotic inserts can feel uncomfortable if they aren't supported by your footwear. Inserts should fit snugly inside shoes. If your orthotic is loose, say if you're wearing sandals with no sides, then it may slip from side to side. If the shoes you're wearing are too narrow, then the orthotic may not have room to sit flat. If this happens, then you walk on a tilted insert which puts pressure on your body.
The depth of the back of the shoes is also important. If the heel is low on your ankle, then you don't have enough room to get your foot in the shoe correctly when you have your insert in. If you have to focus on stopping your foot from slipping out of a shoe when you walk, then you won't have enough stability. This could also cause aches and pains.
If you can't work out where your pain or discomfort comes from, call your podiatrist. You may need to go to the clinic to have your orthotic checked out or to get more advice on how to wear it.