Orthotics: When it’s okay to go without

Do I have to wear my orthotic all the time?

This is the most common question patients ask when they receive new orthotics, or ort

orthotic options
There are many styles of orthotics

hopedic insert. It is an excellent and certainly logical question. If you are prescribed orthotics, we spend a lot of time carefully discussing the effect they have on your feet, gait and skeletal alignment.  When you’re in alignment, there are significant benefits and walking is easier and pleasurable.

So why wouldn’t want to wear your orthotics all the time?

In Austin there is at least one quick answer. Say it’s more than 100 degrees outside and you are wearing sandals which do not accommodate orthotics. You are faced with a choice. You can have hot feet, or you can have balanced feet.

Often women are faced with this choice at a formal occasion, wear dressy shoes which do not accommodate orthotics, or wear inappropriate shoes that are comfortable. What to do?

Our answer, don’t worry about it. Do the best you can. Choose a sandal with some arch support. If the high heel has enough room, we can add an adhesive arch pad which is significantly better than nothing. Many patients who must wear dress shoes frequently will bring us their shoes for a custom-made insert.

In some cases, we can even create an orthotic to fit a particular shoe style. One of our clients desperately wanted orthotics to fit her designer cowboy boots, which are practically a birthright for a Texas woman. We were able to create just the fit she needed.

Designer cowboys can be fitted with an insert or orthotic
Designer cowboys can be fitted with an insert or orthotic.

Wear your orthotics as much as possible, and certainly when you are working out or walking long distances. A brief time in a sandal or a dress shoe without an orthotic is not going to cause problems. In fact, it may be a good thing to give your foot some variety.

Personally, I went to visit my brother in New York City this summer and knew we would be walking a tremendous amount. Even though it was sweltering, I wore my sneakers with my orthotics. While my feet were a little hot, I can assure you that I would not have made it through that very long day of walking without wearing my orthotics!

So use your judgment and use your orthotics as often as practical and certainly when you are doing a lot of walking!

Learn more about orthotics here.