If you have ever had a foot or ankle ailment, unless it was only a toenail, you may have had custom orthotics recommended to you. These are corrective inserts that are used in shoes to alter the way the ground reactive forces hit your foot and this in turn reduces the compensation that occurs in your foot which prevent overuse and injury. What a mouthfull, huh?
Well when you first get your orthotics, they are given with strict instructions on appropriate timing for breaking them in. These instructions should never be overlooked, because even though they may seem like "just a piece of plastic with some cushion" - your orthotics CAN cause problems if not worn at the appropriate times. When you get that fancy dancy new pair of orthotics, break them in as instructed and DON'T wear them in the following circumstances:
1. It's your first day with your new orthotics and you want to run 6 miles --- DON'T use orthotics now! Breaking the inserts in slowly means starting with walking. Once you can wear the orthotics for a full day of walking without noticing they are there means you can start the process of breaking them in for running. Start with just 1 mile the first day and increase mileage as your feet tolerate them. This can be different for everyone.
2. You are going to Disney World and you are SOO excited that you have your brand new orthotics --- DON'T wear your orthotics now! Again, excessive use of orthotics when they are not broken in will cause more harm than good. Let your feet get used to them and adhere to the break in period.
3. You just found an old pair of sneakers and you want to see if you can get a few more months of use out of them with your orthotics --- DON'T wear your orthotics now! Wearing your orthotics will not be a magical cure for old worn out shoes. If the shoes are not in good condition, you will not experience the optimal improvement in your feet with the orthotics.
4. You are going to a conference and will be on your feet all day and you JUST got your new orthotics --- DON'T wear them now! You are sure to end up hating your orthotics and thinking they don't work if you wear them more than recommended before they are broken in.
If you have old orthotics - whether you have worn them and loved them or put them in your closet because you didn't think they were for you, make an appointment at our office. A quick evaluation of your orthotics can determine if you need a new or different pair to reduce the chance of future injury or foot conditions!