3 Tips for Breaking in Orthotic Inserts

Orthotic inserts are shoe insoles intended to improve your foot health. Inserting them into your shoes can help improve blood circulation in your feet and legs, treat foot ulcers, and relieve the pain caused by calluses and other foot conditions. Although you can buy shoe inserts over the counter that promise orthotic benefits, the best orthotic inserts are those prescribed by your podiatrist and customized to meet the specific needs of your foot.

However, you may find the orthotic inserts difficult to walk in—and perhaps even painful—when you first put them on. That's because an orthotic device needs some breaking in, just like a new pair of shoes. Take a look at some tips for breaking in an orthotic device.

Find the Right Shoes

Your orthotic device is meant to fit inside your shoe, underneath your foot. But if you don't have enough room inside your shoe, the orthotic insert is going to crowd your foot inside the shoe, which may create more discomfort than you already had. It's often a good idea to buy new shoes to wear with your orthotic device.

One reason to buy a new shoe is that you may need a larger or wider size in order to comfortably wear the orthotic insert. Another thing to consider is that older shoes that have already been broken in themselves may have molded to the shape of your foot without the orthotic, and may not be able to readjust to the new layer inside the shoe. Take your inserts to the shoe store with you and try on shoes with the insert inside. That way, you can ensure a good fit with the insert.

Adjust to the Insert Gradually

Even in a new pair of shoes, you can't expect the insert to feel instantly comfortable. They may leave you feeling wobbly or unbalanced because you aren't used to walking with them inside of your shoes. It takes some time to get used to the sensation of the insert and gain your balance walking with them. This is why many foot doctors recommend a gradual adjustment period for your feet.

For example, your doctor may recommend that you wear the inserts for one hour the first day, two hours the second day, and so on, so that by the end of two weeks you can wear them comfortably for the full day. Depending on your specific foot condition, the doctor may adjust your schedule to better fit your needs. If you find that the inserts are comfortable immediately, you can increase your time wearing them sooner.

Reduce Squeaky Noises

You may discover that your new orthotic device makes a squeaking sound when you walk. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but it can get very annoying when you have to spend a whole day walking around listening to that squeaking sound. Luckily, there are a couple of effective ways to get rid of the noise.

The squeaking sound is usually caused by the insole rubbing on some part of the shoe. A common recommendation is to put powder inside the shoe, along the inner liner and anywhere along the sides of the shoe where the insert will make contact with the shoe material. If you don't like the idea of putting powder inside your shoe, you may be able to achieve a similar noise-dampening effect by putting a thin nylon sock over the insole, or by cutting a dryer sheet in the shape of the insole and inserting it between the shoe and the orthotic insert. If all else fails, your podiatrist may be able to adjust the orthotic insert by narrowing it slightly or beveling the edges to reduce friction and contact with the shoe.

Breaking in your orthotic devices is important. If they're not broken in properly, they may not be comfortable to wear, and you may find yourself avoiding them to the detriment of your foot health. Don't hesitate to contact services like Citrus Chiropractic Group if you're having pain or difficulty adjusting to your orthotic insert.