Orthotics – A Catch-22?

Orthotics – A Catch-22?

Jun 10
Orthotics – A Catch-22?

I’m about a month removed from wearing my boot, and the situation with my right foot injury is a bit of a mixed bag at the moment.  On one hand, the stress fractures seem to have healed.  I’m due for a follow-up appointment to confirm this, but I’m pretty in tune with the aches and pains of this ongoing saga and I think its safe to say that my bones are in good shape.

However, the tendinitis that I was experiencing prior to shutting everything down was re-ignited almost immediately after beginning to walk boot free.  This was somewhat to be expected, as there’s been some muscle atrophy and a reduced range of motion.  But here we are a month later, and the tendinitis is raging.  The most frustrating aspect of it is that its migrating. Every day…..no, check that…..every HOUR the pain seems to have moved to a different location.  Sometimes its the inside of my foot/arch, sometimes its the outside.  Sometimes its my ankle, sometimes its under my toes. There’s no rhyme or reason as to how or why the location doesn’t stay seem, it just keeps evolving every single day.

The only time it doesn’t seem to hurt is when I’m wearing my orthotics.  When I wear a super supportive pair of running shoes with my orthotics, the pain all but disappears.  But when I take them off and either go barefoot or attempt to wear less supportive shoes (Vans, Converse, Nike SB’s, flip-flops……I’m a kicks guy), my foot hurts like a mofo.

The simple solution would obviously be to just wear my orthotics at all times.  Problem solved, right?  But I’m beginning to wonder if the orthotics are actually contributing to to this ongoing foot pain.  Is it possible that because the orthotics provide so much support that they are actually making my foot weaker overall?  I’m wearing them so much that its almost as if my foot has gotten lazy.  When I take them off, am I ‘shocking the system’ as certain muscles are now being forced into action that haven’t been necessary otherwise?

I’ve noticed that my overall foot strength is pretty poor and that I can’t even push myself up onto my tippy-toes without  assistance from my arms. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the pool doing ‘aqua-walking’, as well as a lot of foot strengthening exercises to try and get those atrophied muscles back into shape. But are the orthotics hampering those efforts?  I’m curious to hear what other people’s experiences with them are. I really don’t want to be caught in a cycle where I’m only pain free when I’m wearing them, but that’s totally my reality at the moment.