If you are on your feet for extended periods of time, you may have pain in your feet, especially if your shoes are inadequate. When searching for pain relief, you may be tempted to consider orthotics or inserts for your shoes. You may find it confusing to know what kind of orthotics to buy and whether or not you should pursue custom or prescription orthotics. We hope this article will help answer how to know if you need orthotics and empower you to make an informed decision for your foot health.
Who Needs Orthotics? How Do I Know If I Need Orthotics?
Anyone who stands for more than five hours a day or who has frequent foot pain should consider orthotics. The first step in caring for your foot health is to buy high-quality shoes with adequate support. Wearing old shoes with worn-out soles puts unnecessary and sometimes painful pressure on your feet. Shoes are made for individuals with “normal” feet and may not fit your specific needs. If you wear high-quality, supportive shoes and still find your feet hurting at the end of the day, you may want to consider orthotics.
What Types of Orthotics Are Available?
Orthotics fall into two major categories.
- Over-the-counter (non-prescription) orthotics
- Prescription or custom orthotics
You can find a wide variety of over-the-counter (OTC) orthotics at most drugstores. These may target bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, and other common foot conditions. Most OTC orthotics can be slipped right into existing footwear for a seamless experience. Some formal types of footwear (like heels) may not be able to comfortably hold OTC orthotic inserts.
If OTC inserts for your shoes are not doing the job, you should see a podiatrist for custom-made prescription orthotics. Podiatrists have advanced imaging and molds and are highly trained to understand the shape of your foot and how a good orthotic can help you stand and walk correctly.
How Long Will I Have To Wear Orthotics?
It is easy to assume that if you start wearing foot inserts in your shoes, you’ll be required to wear them for the rest of your life, but this is not always the case. Some prescription orthotics can help correct any issues with your feet and may only need to be worn for specific activities or periods of time. Some patients will wear orthotics for a few months and then slowly wear them less and less until they are finished with them.
How Do I Wear Orthotics?
The most important thing to remember about wearing orthotics for the first time is to start slow. Your feet need time to adjust to the new shape and may be very painful after the first few times. Your podiatrist may recommend starting with as little as a few minutes a day and slowly increasing the time you wear your orthotics. This gradual adoption allows your feet to get used to the new orthotics without injury. This guideline should be followed when wearing orthotics for the first time or when adopting a new orthotic. Giving your feet time to gradually adjust may seem frustratingly slow, but it pays off in the long run.
Find A Foot Doctor for Orthotics in New York City (NYC)
If you are considering custom orthotics or have questions about what kind you need, our staff can help. Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment so we can understand your needs and help you find the right orthotics for you.