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How to Break in Orthotics Pain-Free

“Too much, too soon” is the commonest reason orthotics hurt initially. Read here to learn the best way to break in orthotics without pain.

a man in a white shirt and blue and pink suspenders
By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published December 28, 2021.

Like new shoes, your body requires some time to get used to a custom orthotic. This period is known as the orthotic break-in period. During that time, discomfort (not pain) should be expected.

Do Orthotics Provide Immediate Relief?

While orthotics may definitely bring you some relief, it's not quite as quick as you might imagine. You’re more likely to experience some initial discomfort, but that doesn't mean your orthotics need adjustment. Instead, it means your body needs time to get used to them.

Methods to Break in Orthotics

It will take between two and four weeks to break in a pair of new orthotics. During this period, you mustn't wear the orthotics for too long so that your body can gradually adapt to any change in position.

"Too much, too soon" is the most common reason orthotics may hurt at first. As such, you should avoid wearing them for long durations when you're just starting out. Instead, aim to wear them for an hour or two at most for the first week and then progressively build on this until you get used to the new sensation completely and can wear it all day without hassle.

Maintenance of Orthotics

Wear and tear will happen naturally to your orthotics with use. You can, however, prolong their lifespan with proper maintenance. Generally, you can wipe them clean with a damp cloth or sponge. You should also avoid exposing them to extreme heat or moisture.

When it seems like they don't offer as much support as they used to, reach out to your doctor for a replacement.

Give your body time to adjust to the new orthotic. It’s not only better if you want to avoid pain; it’s also the fastest route to obtaining relief.