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The Impact of Orthotic Inserts on Foot Health: Insights from Dr. Staschiak

A thumbnail photo of Dr. Staschiak, with text written. The impact of orthotic inserts on foot health: Insights from Dr. Staschiak.

Dr. Staschiak of Mid-Ohio Foot and Ankle Specialist recently addressed a common question he encounters in his practice: why does he not recommend hard, rigid inserts for orthotics? His comprehensive response sheds light on the potential drawbacks of such inserts and offers valuable advice for maintaining foot health.

The Downside of Hard Rigid Orthotics

According to Dr. Staschiak, hard rigid orthotics may do more harm than good by weakening the intrinsic muscles on the bottom of the foot. These intrinsic muscles play a crucial role in providing support and stability.

When subjected to constant use of hard rigid orthotics, they can become strained, leading to sprains and micro tears in the tissues. Dr. Staschiak noted, “Hard rigid orthotics are proven to actually weaken the intrinsic muscles on the bottom of the foot, which can lead to strain sprains, micro tears of the tissues if you are accustomed to wearing them the majority of the day.”

Risks of Using Hard Rigid Orthotics

One significant risk associated with wearing hard rigid orthotics is the increased potential for foot damage when transitioning to walking or running barefoot. Dr. Staschiak explained that removing these inserts after prolonged use and engaging in activities without foot support can result in considerable damage. “If you are accustomed to wearing them the majority of the day, and then you take them off and start walking or running around barefoot, you can actually cause a lot more damage,” he emphasized.

Alternative Recommendations

Instead of hard rigid inserts, Dr. Staschiak recommends using soft cushiony inserts that provide extra cushioning along with some arch support. He mentioned specific alternatives, such as the scaphoid pad, which offers sufficient support without the rigidity that can weaken the foot’s intrinsic muscles. “I’ve always recommended soft cushiony inserts to help give you the extra cushioning that you need with a little bit of arch support,” said Dr. Staschiak.

Best Practices for Foot Health

For individuals who still prefer using hard rigid orthotics, Dr. Staschiak advises limiting their use to work hours only. He recommends removing them in the evening and opting for regular sandals or slippers. This practice allows the intrinsic muscles to strengthen, reducing the risk of tearing and other injuries. According to Dr. Staschiak, “If you do wear hard rigid inserts, try to wear them only during the work hours, take them off at night and walk around in some regular sandal slippers, something to help strengthen those intrinsic muscles to prevent tearing.”

Dr. Staschiak’s insights highlight the importance of choosing the right type of orthotic inserts to maintain foot health. By avoiding hard rigid inserts and opting for softer alternatives, individuals can protect the intrinsic muscles of their feet and prevent potential injuries. Following his advice on using inserts selectively and engaging in activities that strengthen the foot muscles will contribute to overall foot health and well-being.

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