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has anyone ever ditched their orthotics? (Read 311 times)

aponi


never runs the tangents

    I've worn orthotics for a couple of years now. It started with PF and a trip to the doctor. The thing is, when I called they told me to bring in my running shoes and he didn't actually ever look at them. It was like a magic bullet - ah you have PF here stick your foot in this plaster. I stopped wearing the funky sock that kept my foot stretched out at night because I started having achilles issues and felt like I was trading one problem for another one.

     

    So now I'm at one with the fact that I'm not destined for marathons. If I keep it to half marathons and no more than 30 miles a week I don't have foot issues.

     

    I'm on my 3rd pair of orthotics and really need new ones but my insurance has changed so these orthotics have gone from a $75 copay to $500 out of pocket. I could probably live with that since I have a health savings account but I need two count them TWO crowns that will effectively wipe out my entire HSA this year.

     

    What I'm wondering is that maybe just maybe the PF was caused by a combination of building up too much mileage to quickly and the wrong shoes. If I got motion control shoes maybe just maybe I could stop wearing these orthotics.

     

    Has anyone else ever tried this?

    you're only hurting yourself you know

      Yup, I ditched mine back in 2002 when I started running on dirt trails instead of roads.  I ditched the "night splint" for my PF as well and haven't looked back.  From my perspective at least, running in the dirt compensates for a multitude of biomechanical and stride related issues (mine from breaking both legs down near the ankle, in separate incidents).  I'm now 56 and am running more miles per week (between 55 and 65) than I ever have before, and I feel great.  Smile

        It depends on why you need the orthotics. What was the source of the PF? It sounds like your doctor didn't try to find source of problem. (yea, I know you already knew that)

         

        Yes, I ditched my 3/4 length hard orthotics, BUT my PT (not source of orthotics) moved me from mc shoes and orthotics to stability shoes and foot/ankle strengthening but kept the orthotics for the time being. Eventually (5-7yrs later) the orthotics were aggravating a forefoot problem, tried running without them, foot had a lot more room and sat in shoe better, and gradually weaned myself from them over a few (?) months (might have been less time). It's been almost 3 yrs since I've worn them. Actually, my problem was more AT than PF, and needed torsional control in the forefoot area, NOT the control present in mc shoes.

         

        I'm now wearing neutral trail shoes. My feet aren't strong enough to handle no support in the forefoot area, and the shoes I'm using now (Saucony Xodus 3) are just about right because of their firm sole.

         

        But your problem may be something completely different. I'd question going through that many orthotics in a couple years. Do you wear your orthotics all the time or just running? Maybe you could try going without your orthotics in normal wear for awhile or vice versa. See if it makes any difference.

         

        Or find another doctor or a place that does reliable gait analyses where they're qualified to diagnose issues.

         

        My experience is that trained (in running/walking biomechanics) PT should be decent for functional issues. Podiatrists, chiropracters might be better for structural issues. And different practitioners may prescribe different solutions for the same problem. (My PT treated my weak feet/ankles. Chiropracter who was giving free gait analyses and used the FootMaxx pressure plate stuff saw the same issues and said I'd need orthotics for the rest of my life - no getting around it. My PT provided the same observations, but a real solution.)

        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


        Cheap and Evil Girl

          I was also surprised that you are on your third pair of orthotics.  I have had mine since 1996.  I don't know what kind of orthotic you are using, but mine are hard plastic and about four or five inches long.  I got them to prevent shin splints due to excessive pronation inward, and they have worked great.  I haven't had a shin splint since I began wearing them, and I only wear them when I am running but I all ways wear them for a run of any length.

           

          I have considered trying to stop wearing them, I have been dealing with some other overuse injuries and have been getting a little desperate for a solution.  But I am afraid that I would just be adding shin splints onto my current list of pains.

          I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.  

           

          "Mental toughness is built by doing something that is hard over and over again, especially when you don't feel like doing it. Our society has conditioned us to believe that there should be no discomfort, to stop when we are uncomfortable. But the discomfort we feel when we're doing a challenging workout is an important part of the strengthening process." -Jim Afremow, The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive


          In it for the long run..

            A better question might be "Has anyone NOT ditched their orthotics?"   After years of dealing with them back in the 90s, most of my runner friends decided they weren't all that helpful and went "naked".  Injuries happen- with or without the stupid things.   That said, I do realize they can be beneficial in some cases.

            "It's not who wins the workout..."

              Short answer: yes, I used orthotics for a while, ditched them, and I'm fine! (knocking on wood...)

               

              Long answer: I started using orthotics to "fix" my achilles tendonitis at the recommendation of a sports doc. Why did I have achilles tendonitis? Because I was wearing the wrong shoes, training stupidly, and not taking proper care of my calves (not rolling, massaging, o even stretching very much.) ANYWAY, so I started using the orthotics, and the achilles thing went away, but I never liked running with orthotics. They were so uncomfortable to run in, and I started having IT band issues that I'm pretty sure were due to the insoles.

               

              Then one day I realized - and this is going to sound weird, but whatever - that my feet had gotten so weak, I couldn't support my body weight with my foot muscles. Can you stand on your toes, on one foot? It's not that hard right? Well, I couldn't do it. My foot would tremble and collapse within a second. omg! I wasn't sure whether this had been the case pre-orthotics, or if the orthotics led to weaker feet, but in any case decided orthotics were probably not doing me any favors.

               

              I started doing foot strengthening exercises, revamped my core routine, found out about those heel drop exercise deals (eccentric calf raises, I think they're called?), bought a trigger point roller, ditched the orthotics, and figured out what kind of shoe is best for me. I mostly stopped being stupid about training and have been pretty diligent about keeping up with this stuff, and though I sometimes get twinges in my achilles or posterior tibial tendons, I've not been injured since that episode 4 years ago.

               

              tl;dr - you are right, there is probably a reason for your PF that is not simply "oh you were running without orthotics so you got PF". I definitely cannot tell you how to fix it, but if I were you, I wouldn't be afraid to look into non-orthotic solutions.

               

              I've worn orthotics for a couple of years now. It started with PF and a trip to the doctor. The thing is, when I called they told me to bring in my running shoes and he didn't actually ever look at them. It was like a magic bullet - ah you have PF here stick your foot in this plaster. I stopped wearing the funky sock that kept my foot stretched out at night because I started having achilles issues and felt like I was trading one problem for another one.

               

              So now I'm at one with the fact that I'm not destined for marathons. If I keep it to half marathons and no more than 30 miles a week I don't have foot issues.

               

              I'm on my 3rd pair of orthotics and really need new ones but my insurance has changed so these orthotics have gone from a $75 copay to $500 out of pocket. I could probably live with that since I have a health savings account but I need two count them TWO crowns that will effectively wipe out my entire HSA this year.

               

              What I'm wondering is that maybe just maybe the PF was caused by a combination of building up too much mileage to quickly and the wrong shoes. If I got motion control shoes maybe just maybe I could stop wearing these orthotics.

               

              Has anyone else ever tried this?

              aponi


              never runs the tangents

                To clairfy these things are full foot deals and I only wear them running. The first two lasted me about a year and they started squeaking. I have no idea why but when I went back to see about it the doctor said that I had worn them out. My newest version are what he described as running orthotics. They have a cloth coating on them instead of hard plastic, but that cloth is looking a bit bare now. I think they could last a while longer but maybe it's more accruate to say that I'm tired of dealing than they're worn out.

                 

                The LRS does gait alalysis but I've never had it done when I wasn't wearing the orthotics so maybe I should go tell them what I'm doing and see what happens.

                 

                I guess I just sort of wish that I had gotten more information about why it happened instead of just this sort of two aspirin here are some orthotics now off ya go approach.

                you're only hurting yourself you know

                NHLA


                  Find a doctor that runs.


                    To clairfy these things are full foot deals and I only wear them running. The first two lasted me about a year and they started squeaking. I have no idea why but when I went back to see about it the doctor said that I had worn them out. My newest version are what he described as running orthotics. They have a cloth coating on them instead of hard plastic, but that cloth is looking a bit bare now. I think they could last a while longer but maybe it's more accruate to say that I'm tired of dealing than they're worn out.

                     

                    The LRS does gait alalysis but I've never had it done when I wasn't wearing the orthotics so maybe I should go tell them what I'm doing and see what happens.

                     

                    I guess I just sort of wish that I had gotten more information about why it happened instead of just this sort of two aspirin here are some orthotics now off ya go approach.

                    Definitely get a new doctor. Squeaking (at least mine) can be solved by powder, and is not a reason for getting new orthotics. Cloth coating should be replaceable. Mine had a leather topping, it was worn shiny, and I finally had them recovered after I'd worn through the leather in maybe 5-8 yrs (too far back in history). Look for someone who works with runners.

                     

                    LRS may or may not be able to do a decent gait analysis, but they may know a PT or health practitioner who can. Our current LRS has a shoe store also and periodically one of the PT's has a running clinic with free gait analysis. That PT is the one that got me on the road to pain free running. That LRS didn't exist at the time I was having my problems, and the one in town didn't have tm for gait analysis yet. They sent me to the PT who was with a clinic then, then started his own clinic and then the shoe store. He was good with runners. His partner in the clinic is also a runner. They support local races. It's a matter of finding the right person with the right skills.

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                      I got a set in the mid 90's for shin splints.  They did help, but I got rid of them after a year or so and have not had any problems with my shins.

                        .. But I am afraid that I would just be adding shin splints onto my current list of pains.

                        Consider adding heel walking - with toes forward, toes out, toes in. Or just stand somewhere and tap your toes. There's other ways of strengthening shins also, but this is simple. We used to do 30 in each direction (plus 30 heel raises in each direction).

                         

                        May or may not help.

                        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                        run.87


                          I agree with the suggestions to find a doctor, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or podiatrist that runs (especially if your insurance will cover it). If you can't afford it and have a friend you trust that is an athletic trainer at a local college or any of the things listed above see if you can talk them into helping you out.

                           

                          I had orthotics, but thanks to a knowledgeable physical therapist (that was an athlete) I am now running without them. He was able to film me running and picked up on a gait abnormality that was causing problems. He traced the problem to weak hips and arches and after some physical therapy I was able to run without problems.I have now been running for four years without any serious injuries and am running higher mileage than I ever thought possible (still not that high, but my case was pretty severe). 

                           

                          I still do my physical therapy exercises (nearly) every day and pay attention to my form. It wasn't ditching the orthitics that helped me get healthy, it was getting to the root cause of the issue. I think if you stop using orthotics without knowing why you need them (what is causing the PF) you may get yourself into trouble. I also think that it is possible that there are some structural issues that cannot be resolved by merely reconditioning the muscles--you may need the orthotics no matter how much physical therapy you do.

                           

                          If you do decide to stop using them make sure that you ditch them gradually. It took me about two months before I was running without my orthotics. Could you try stretching yours out that far?  I second the vote that trails help biomechanical issues, just work into them slowly (like anything else). You could also try adding barefoot strides or hill accelerations a couple times a week. I have found that this helps my form significantly. However, I would strongly advise against consciously changing your stride unless it has been recommended to you.

                          “Over level or steep, over smooth or rough, over dry or wet…run, run: always run.” 

                            A better question might be "Has anyone NOT ditched their orthotics?"  

                            That would be me. I've been wearing them to run in for the last 13 years....same pair. Love them. Wouldn't want to run without them.

                            Use your momentum...keep going.  You know you can make it.


                            sugnim

                              I was given orthotics as a child & the doctor told me that I would always need them.  Needless to say, my feet grew.  But my parents never took me back to get new ones, so I didn't wear any while in high school.  As a young adult, I also did not wear any.  I took up running about 2 years ago and injured my foot.  The PT I saw said that I needed stability shoes & orthotics.  So, I got them.  I ran with those for about a year, then I ditched the orthotics because I wanted the inside of my shoe to be softer.  I still ran in stability shoes.  My feet felt better.  This year, I switched to trail running and purchased my 1st pair of real trail shoes.  They don't really make stability trail shoes, or at least not any that are really good trail shoes.  So, I am now wearing neutral shoes with no orthotics.  And you know what, my feet feel better than ever.  No plantar fasciitis, no Achilles tendinitis, and no expensive orthotics.  Smile

                              DollarBill


                                Had mine for about 4 years, never completely helped the original problem (knee isues).  Ditched them, went to neutral shoes, and have never looked back.

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