DO YOUR ORTHOTICS FIT?

Any orthotic that is going to work has to address the underlying repetitive motion of "overpronation" (overpronation is the maximum range of motion the arch makes with each step, which results in, "wear and tear" over time). This biomechanical damage, once it occurs, is due from a lifetime of footsteps.

Comparatively, each footstep is like a mile in a car. So every decade of life is like 100,000 miles. In order to repair that cumulative damage a proper fitting orthotic is essential.

The fit of the orthotic, must meet 4 criteria:

  1. the orthotic must be supportive; the person must feel the support such that it is full or snug fitting
  2. it must be comfortable to wear all day without it causing more discomfort or problems (this comfort does not relate to symptoms).
  3. it cannot overcorrect your alignment position on the ground; you must be stable.
  4. It must fit the way your muscles and feet walk and not necessarily the way the foot is shaped.

The one thing no one can tell is how long it will take to get better. Not "feeling" better, right away does not mean the orthotic is not working for you. In fact, if the orthotic meets the "criteria of the fit," it is working for you.

To reverse the inflammation that is now felt as pain can take weeks, months or even years to restore to complete health. Remember every step you take (including around the house, let alone high activity), antagonizes the time it takes to get better.

Various factors can result in a long delay in starting to feel better: Age, weight, mandatory daily activities (which antagonize the healing process), and if the problem is chronic (more than 1 year).

So, how does one know their orthotics are working? Simply by establishing the "criteria of the fit." In order for that prescription to be precise, there is no compromise in the criteria. If an orthotic is helping you, but is uncomfortable to wear, then that is not a precise fit.

How long will relief take? There is no exact way to tell that. However, correcting your alignment position to the ground will improve your lower extremity mechanics and will reverse the damaging effects that a lifetime of overpronation has caused.