Orthotics are devices designed to relieve, support, or comfort the feet. Most of these are bought over-the-counter (OTC), but some are tailor-made by a podiatrist or other specialist.

If it leaves your feet sore, cramped, or aching, it’s understandable to ask why. After all, these devices are supposed to relieve pain and discomfort, not cause it.

What’s going on? That’s what we’re answering in the post below.


Why Do Foot Orthotics Hurt My Arch?

If these devices hurt your arch, it’s unlikely that’s the only place they’re causing discomfort. Indeed, the reasons they will cause discomfort to your feet are largely the same, whether it’s your arch, sole, or toes.

Here are the main reasons why it is hurting your arch:

1. They were not fitted properly

An improper fit is The most common reason these devices cause any discomfort. This problem is likely with off-the-shelf devices that incorrectly conform to your foot shape. Occasionally, custom orthotics may also fit incorrectly, leading to rubbing or aching.

If you cannot find a ready-made device that doesn’t cause discomfort, consider speaking to your podiatrist. In most cases, if you have flat feet, they’ll either scan it or take an impression to ensure the orthotic fits perfectly to the contours and shape of your feet.

2. They are worn out

Every day they are rubbed, bent, and moved. All that wear and tear eventually results in the custom orthotic no longer being fit for purpose. Either it no longer cushions or supports the foot, leading to discomfort. That can be particularly felt in the foot arch, where significant stress and strain occur.

We recommend using the devices for at least a year before buying new ones. Most well-made orthotic devices should last longer — on average, between 3 to 5 years. You should regularly inspect your device to ensure it is still performing its intended job. If not, speak to your podiatrist about getting a new orthotic fitted.

3. You are wearing improper footwear with it

The devices must conform not only to your foot shape but also that of the shoe. Most of them fit comfortably into shoes, boots, and sandals. However, they may only work with a specific pair of shoes.

In some cases, like extremely narrow shoes or a lack of support (e.g., rubber shoes), your feet can experience discomfort, even arch pain.

Consider investing in a comfortable, roomy shoe for the best results.  Certain brands are tailored for comfort and podiatric issues — speak to your podiatrist for further information

4. Your devices are not broken in

Like shoes, they require a little wear before working their magic. We recommend it in short bouts initially until they’re comfortable. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Wear the devices for around an hour on the first day. Over the next few days, gradually increase the time you wear them.

  • If they start to hurt, stop wearing them and give your feet a rest.

  • Continue breaking them in — if you forget to keep wearing them, breaking in can stop. You also won’t be experiencing the benefits of it on your feet.

If, after two weeks of wearing orthotics, you experience persistent foot pain, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with your podiatrist. They can reassess your feet and examine the orthotic for any potential issues.


Final Thoughts

It’s important to note that properly fitted devices should not cause any discomfort. However, wearing inappropriate footwear with an orthotic will cause pain, often in the arch.

If you do not experience comfort while wearing your devices full-time within two weeks, don’t hesitate to consult an expert podiatrist from Foot and Ankle Centers, we will assess if your orthotics require any adjustments to ensure a more comfortable fit.

Schedule an appointment with us today to receive a fitting for a new custom orthotic.