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What Happens if You Stop Wearing Your Orthotics?

Learn the potential risks of not wearing your orthotics, the consequences of, which conditions will need orthotics indefinitely, and which won't.

By Hosea Machio
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published October 19, 2021.

According to professional instruction, orthotics are meant to be worn all the time as they address the foot function rather than the foot itself. Therefore, you shouldn't stop wearing your orthotics just because there is pain relief.

However, some illnesses necessitate the use of orthotics longer than others. For example, You may wear your orthotics longer if you have a condition such as flat feet that restricts you from performing your Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

Do Orthotics Weaken Your Feet?

No current studies show that orthotics induce leg weakness. Nonetheless, wrongly prescribed over-the-counter orthotics have side effects such as weak ankles and pain. Therefore, get professional advice or a custom orthotic that fits the function, thus alleviating symptoms and treating the condition.

» Are your orthotics worsening your pain? Upstep offers a wide range of custom orthotics and can help you find the perfect fit that gives your feet the correct support

When Should You Stop Wearing Orthotics?

In many circumstances, you'll wear orthotics frequently over time until you heal or when doing specific activities. However, some conditions may stop you from wearing orthotics, and they include:

  • Orthotics exacerbating foot pain.
  • Knee pain after wearing orthotics.
  • Back pain after wearing orthotics.
  • Injury or traumatic condition that has fully healed.

There has been a recent rising interest in the orthotics vs. barefoot debate. Orthotics have been likened to plaster cast that leads to reduced musculature, bulk, and flexibility. However, this is not true. Recent evidence suggests that orthotics may increase musculature strength.

If you have significant difficulties restricting you from conducting everyday activities, such as flat feet, you may need to wear orthotics indefinitely and even at home.

Consequences of Not Wearing Your Orthotics

It’s vital to follow your podiatrist’s guidelines for wearing orthotics. If you don’t wear them as directed, you risk aggravating any muscle or tendon issues. Your healing may backtrack, leading to initial symptoms returning. Back, calf, ankle, or elbow pain are other possible issues that may arise due to neglecting orthotics.


In conclusion, a myriad of factors is involved in determining what happens when you stop wearing orthotics. It is prudent to talk to your medical team before making a healthy decision. Furthermore, they may be able to lead you through activities that will help you gain muscular strength and speed up your recovery.