Custom orthotics disaster
by by HB
I decided to get fitted for orthotics as a preventative measure prompted by my boss and an orthopedic surgeon who both swear by them. Other people I know wear them and don't like them so I get mixed reviews. Since I had a very severe case of plantarfasciitis and torn Achilles back to back. I was thinking it would be wise. The process getting fitted and seeing the right person and having the correct information was terrible for me. I did finally get them and they hurt and had to go back for an adjustment because they were not right. In the meantime while getting treated for PF and getting better, I asked my podiatrist about them and he said I did not need them and why would I want something in my shoes the rest of my life and still young! I am 44yrs old and female. Don't worry about it!he said. Okay but I already had them from a place that's all they do is foot orthoses,ankle braces and prosthetic limbs. It was supposed to be fast because the lab is right on site so no sending out for the orthotics but the four days from start to finish turned into two weeks. The C.ped who fitted me for the orthotics used the blue foam box for the impression and said I could wear them and be comfortable all day. My last day for physical therapy at the orthopedic surgeon before starting work the next day having weeks off. I walked around in the orthotics and no problem but the next day at work was a disaster! I was in so much pain and had to leave early because of the orthotics! I know I have some kind of damage to my feet and ankles not to mention my legs and back are hurting as well. I can barely walk and every step is slow and painful! Now I am back to square one after being 90% better from the plantar fasciitis and a torn Achilles tendon! Another setback for me is very disturbing and don't know what path to take now. Thank you. HB
Where do I start? Never base your medical decisions on the experiences of others, that just never seems to work. What is good for one person may be a disaster for the next.
Although you can have impressions taken from the blue box which is the equivalent of a foot print in the sand, in the podiatry profession it is generally regarded as an inaccurate way of taking a foot impression. It is basically the lazy way to do it. The proper way is to take a plaster of paris impression of both feet with them held in certain alignment while the plaster dries. This method takes longer and is sloppier, BUT it is far more accurate in capturing your true foot structure.
I do not think you mentioned the type of orthotic that you had made but they are made out of various materials and the material chosen is usually due to a number of factors such as the condition being treated, the age of the patient, the weight, the amount of activity etc.
So...one of two things; you may either not have the proper type orthotic or you have not broken them in. Someone along the way should have explained to you that orthotics sometimes need to be broken in, so that your feet, legs and lower back can get used to them.
Do you need them? Hard for me to say since I know very little about you and your condition. If your plantar fasciitis episode was a one time deal and it seems to be getting better then maybe you do not really need orthotics; if you got them as a preventative measure (as you state) then I would advise that you go through a break in period with them, if that works fine. If your feet still hurt then you may need orthotics of a different material, OR, as a preventative measure you might just consider buying an "off the shelf" orthotic which is far less expensive and may just do the trick. The SuperStep orthotic that I recommend on my website is a great inexpensive orthotic.
I hope my answer has helped.
Marc Mitnick DPM