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Weaning off orthotics

simon341
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05/24/2009 - 11:03am
Weaning off orthotics
Hello everyone,

As I start to get more involved with Esthers 8 steps, I am thinking a lot about how to get my feet back to a more natural condition. When I herniated my discs in my sophomore year of college two years ago, I was immediatly placed in orthotics. I feel SO much more comfortable in them now, but I realize that my feet have only gotten flatter and flatter with them and my gait without them worse and worse. I'd like to see if there is anyway I can build up the arch so that I can improve my balance and my natural gait. I know that nothing can substitute for the course, which I do plan on attending, but does anyone have advice about weaning yourself off orthotics and/or beggining a rigorous program to restructure the arches. Is this even reccomended?

-Si
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09/10/2008 - 8:36pm
You can strengthen the muscles in the arches of your feet even with orthotics. Just think of your orthotic as a contour on the earth's surface and grip it with the bottom of your foot especially at push-off. This way you don't have to worry about further stretching your foot ligaments when you aren't paying attention to using your arch muscles (there are other things in life you have to pay attention to as well!)

For special occasions, when you can:
1. pay attention to what your feet are doing so you don't stretch your ligaments further
2. be on natural surfaces - e.g. walk on the beach, tree climbing, walking a dirt trail.

it is good to practice glidewalking barefoot.

In this case, keep your arch muscles engaged slightly at all times, including at footfall. Landing on a "short foot" puts your arch muscles in a position of mechanical advantage so they can work effectively at pushoff, when they really need to work to a) give you a little extra propulsion, b) prevent your foot bending backwards too much and possibly do damage to the plantar fascia, knuckles of the foot (meta-tarso-phalangeal joints like where bunions form), etc. and c) get the exercise they need to keep strong.
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