Happy feet, sad body
September 25, 2014 6:01 AM   Subscribe

My new insoles seem to be doing the trick for my plantar fasciitis. But they seem to be throwing the rest of me off. Will I just get used to it, or should I continue the search for the perfect insoles?

After much research, I recently bought these insoles to help with my plantar fasciitis which has undergone a recent flare-up. Although they're made for closed shoes, they seem to work well with ballet flats which makes life much easier as it means I don't need to have a change of shoes for work. They offer good arch support and, though my heels still hurt a little when walking using them, they hurt MUCH less than before. I've also been doing a lot of stretching in the mornings and I can get up now and not have to do the trademark PF Lurch. I call that a win.

But the rest of me is suffering. I really think that wearing the insoles has thrown off my body alignment. I try to maintain good posture while sitting and standing but my lower back hurts - I can feel where it feels different somehow while walking. It's right at the point where the back turns into the butt, if that makes sense. It hurts less while standing but a lot while sitting. My shins also hurt in a way that is similar to shin splits.

Has anyone else experienced similar problems while using insoles? And what is the best way forward - should I just keep looking for good insoles or should I assume my body will get used to it? I am particularly worried about the back issue - I don't want to improve my feet at the expense of my back!
posted by Ziggy500 to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
How long has it been? It takes me anywhere from 2 weeks to an entire unpleasant month to really get used to new insoles, because I have a bunch of old injuries that need to develop workarounds for changes in my gait/balance/etc.

I believe the lower back part you are feeling the pain in is either your SI joint, your sciatic nerve, or both. If you've ever had a fall that bumped your tailbone, or been in a car accident where you were rear-ended, or even if you've just been a heavy heel walker for a good portion of your life (which seems to be part of the reason you got insoles?), IME these areas will be a little nervous overall and resistant to change.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:28 AM on September 25, 2014

Do you have insurance? You may be able to get custom-made orthotics basically for free at a podiatrist. Mine have helped my feet a ton without these other alignment issues you're having.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:39 AM on September 25, 2014

Response by poster: I don't have private health insurance, no. I'm in the UK and on the NHS.
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:42 AM on September 25, 2014

I tried insoles this summer after experiencing some achilles tendinitis caused by running on hard surfaces in worn-out shoes. Wearing the insoles relieved some of the tendinitis pain but I also almost immediately started having sustained lower back tightness and pain for the first time in my life. Once I got rid of them and bought new running shoes/started a better calf stretching regimen, the tightness/pain in my back cleared up in a week or so. Obviously, this doesn't help re: your shoe situation (sorry), but I just wanted to offer a data point that insoles can throw off your alignment.
posted by raisindebt at 7:34 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ballet flats are terrible for your feet and back, sorry. They offer no support, no cushioning at all. If you want your feet to be healthy and happy, I suspect you're going to have to do more than insoles.

I think you should see a podiatrist or even a physio under the NHS and get some medical advice on if indeed the insoles are causing the problem, and how to address your back and leg pain.
posted by Specklet at 8:35 AM on September 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would go to a physical therapist. It might be something as simple as finding out that one leg is longer than the other -- that happened to me, and a cheap stick-on lift has fixed it.

Changing shoe styles, or adding insoles, can change how you stand and bring already existing problems to the fore.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:00 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I know Chiro is unpopular around here. But they have you stand barefoot in some paste and then you get these custom leather insoles that last ten years or more. MD's were telling me I had growing pains, and then it was shin splints. Those things changed my life.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:57 PM on September 25, 2014

I'll 2nd that ballet flats, even with those insoles, aren't helpful for either problem (the PF pain or the back pain) you describe. I have a similar constellation of symptoms (heel/ankle rolling plus the SI joint pain.) I would try wearing replacement insoles in supportive shoes to see if that helps, and agree with seeing a PT to see if a stretching regimen for the legs and hips helps with the pain.
posted by NikitaNikita at 2:49 AM on September 30, 2014

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