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Orthotics?

2020 Camino Guides

Steven Light

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (May - July 2018)
Meseta (October 2019)
Norte (Summer 2020)
Just found out that I can't get a podiatrist appointment before we leave for a part of the CF this fall (October). When we walked from SJPdP to SDC last summer I had pretty significant heel pain after the first couple of hours walking each day. I have flat feet and over-pronate. I've been advised to use orthotics, of course, and have tried 2 kinds which helped to some degree but not enough.The rest of my feet are pain free and last year had not one blister.

There are so many to choose from! In an attempt to narrow down the choices what has worked for you?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
Two options that have worked for me:
1) Superfeet insoles - I think they come in 3 versions. try them out to see which one fits best. If you live near an REI or good running store they should have some to try
2) Dr. Scholl's - Pharmacies in the US have a device that you stand on and then it will tell you which type of insert to use. These work as well.

What ever you choose, try them out on long up hill / downhill trails to make sure they fit well

Buen Camino!
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
1) Superfeet insoles
2) Dr. Scholl's
I've successfully used the green Superfeet for quite a few years; they are a reasonable approximation of the custom orthotics I have in one pair of boots. The Dr Scholl's I did try once, with the unfortunate result of severe plantar fasciitis, followed by a visit to the podiatrist and the acquisition of the aforementioned custom orthotics. "Cushion" is not the same as "Support", it turns out.
 

prairiegirlmb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to SDC (September 2020)
Can you get your podiatrist to create custom ones for you? I have the same issues that you have with your feet and finally got custom orthotics. They worked so much better for me! But then again, every case is unique!
 

Steven Light

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (May - July 2018)
Meseta (October 2019)
Norte (Summer 2020)
Can you get your podiatrist to create custom ones for you? I have the same issues that you have with your feet and finally got custom orthotics. They worked so much better for me! But then again, every case is unique!
I wish but I can't get in to see them before I leave.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
The Dr Scholl's I did try once, with the unfortunate result of severe plantar fasciitis, followed by a visit to the podiatrist and the acquisition of the aforementioned custom orthotics. "Cushion" is not the same as "Support", it turns out.
To be clear, I was talking about the Dr. Scholl's orthotics - like this:
1567184332077.png
not the "one size fits all" gel inserts.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I think @Kitsambler brings up some good points. I realize that @Steven Light has a different situation and needs to experiment on his own, but I want to add something to the conversation about orthotics.

they are a reasonable approximation of the custom orthotics
Sometime a reasonable approximation is fine. In other cases, it is not. I recently got new custom orthotics to replace my 5-year-old ones, because of a chronic soreness in my foot (new in the last year). The different shape of the new ones is very minor (maybe 1 mm higher, 2 mm farther forward). However, the soreness has been reduced significantly with the new ones.
"Cushion" is not the same as "Support", it turns out.
There has been discussion on other threads about hard plastic vs. silicone, which does not address the whole story. The photo below shows my custom orthotic. The back half has a bottom layer of semi-hard plastic to lift my heel to the right height. The white layer is very rigid and provides support along my high arch. Together they address my overpronation and help the foot roll comfortably through my gait. The front half is 3-mm foam that has no particular function except to fill the part that was originally covered with a factory insole. The whole thing is covered with a 1-mm layer to provide a smooth surface.

The real cushioning from a hard road surface comes from my good running shoes, underneath the orthotic which positions and support the foot. There is no significant cushioning in my orthotic. Personally I find a very cushioned shoe to be annoying in how it absorbs energy. However, if you have a different problem, you might need that cushioning even if it does absorb energy.

It all depends on what is "wrong" with your foot. Custom orthotics are very expensive, and you won't know if they are "needed" until you pay for them and try! However, a visit to a podiatrist should give people an idea of what type of less expensive orthotic might be helpful, or how important the customization is.
20190830_105016[1] - Copy.jpg

.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
Just found out that I can't get a podiatrist appointment before we leave for a part of the CF this fall (October). When we walked from SJPdP to SDC last summer I had pretty significant heel pain after the first couple of hours walking each day. I have flat feet and over-pronate. I've been advised to use orthotics, of course, and have tried 2 kinds which helped to some degree but not enough.The rest of my feet are pain free and last year had not one blister.

There are so many to choose from! In an attempt to narrow down the choices what has worked for you?
I have the exact same problem: flat feet and over-pronation. I use Superfeet green and they work wonders. Also thicker socks.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
RELY on what your foot doctor says and advises. BRING YOUR BOOTS when you see the doctor. Explain what you are going to do.

Everyone's feet are different. What works for one person will not work for another. So, with respect, take all the above advice with a large "grain of salt..."

Personally, I have two totally different feet. My left foot is 'normal' in all respects. However, I was born with a slightly misaligned right foot. It is set to a permanent 5 degree outward angle from center.

Apropos of nothing, this drove my drill sergeants crazy when I served in the military. Even when I was standing at attention, with my feet on the pre-painted feet on the tarmac, my right foot was wandering... This also caused me to have to do a lot of additional push-ups as the drill sergeants always assumed I was trying to have a joke on them... You do NOT argue with your drill sergeant.

This foot is also 'canted' or angled off-level by the same degree. It is permanently pronating... rolling to the outside...

This means that the right foot generates SERIOUS callus material that the left foot does not. Monthly, I obtain a pedicure, during which the technician has to use a RASP to file off the very thick dead skin. I always joke that we need to call the farrier (a specialist who trims horse hooves and fits horseshoes).

Each night, I use specialized foot cream with a very high Urea content to slow down callous grown. I then sleep in cotton socks. But, this only slows things down so I can finish a Camino. I still need a pedicure when I am done.

This congenital condition also necessarily means that most ALL store-bought orthotics will not work for me. Hence my advice to seek the consultation of a foot doctor, and obtain custom orthotics, UNLESS your doctor says that both feet are relatively the same.

FYI, the only over the counter, store-bought orthotics that have any effect for me are the Dr. Scholls, GEL FILLED full insoles. If you get these, remember that they may not pass through airline security, due to the gel fill. In years past, the gel was a concern for security procedures.

On my first Camino, in 2013, a podiatrist in Burgos threw my Superfeet green insoles in the trash exclaiming "BASURA!" He had to operate on infected calluses on my right heel. His conclusion was that the rubbing of the Superfeet insole exacerbated my calluses. This nearly ended my first Camino. But, as the procedure was successful, I was able to proceed after a three-day layover at Burgos.

That was the end of wearing the green Superfeet. When I got home, I switched to a softer Superfoot... I use the orange line for my casual footwear to some effect. But, IMHO, they are not sturdy or supportive enough for sustained long distance hiking while carrying a load.

I always pack the gel insoles in my checked rucksack with poles, and wear the insoles that came with my Keen boots while I am traveling. When I get where I am headed, I mail the factory insoles ahead to Santiago, along with other things I will no want or need until I arrive.

Hope this helps.
 

Ed Aster

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May 2017
Dr. Scholls Heavy duty, work wonders for me for the past 3 Caminos, found at most pharmacies
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
I've used both Superfeet and Sole brands. Of the two, I prefer the Sole brand because they can be heated at low temperature in an oven, then inserted into your boot or shoe, and after you walk around on them for a while, they self-mold to your foot--much like ski boot inserts. But the Superfeet have worked nearly as well. There are multiple versions of each, for low, medium, and high arches, and come in various sizes, all of which can be trimmed with scissors to your shoe size. When trying them on, choose the ones that best fit your arch location, regardless of overall size. I actually have bought several pairs of insoles, and put them in all my shoes now. Be aware, though, that I've never seen an over-the-counter insole that will help pronation -- they're mainly for arch support.

Be sure to remove the original insoles before inserting the replacement insoles. But save the original ones because you can use them on a short-term basis if your shoes or boots get soaked (removing the insole helps the shoes or boots to dry more quickly, and having a spare insole--even in a damp boot--is a nice comfort).
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I wish but I can't get in to see them before I leave.
Isn’t there more than one podiatrist in your city? Custom orthotics are far better than any over the counter ones. Superfeet were useless for me. You might to look at dr Scholls. They have a special heavier duty Sports insole that might work for you. Better than nothing.
 

Steven Light

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (May - July 2018)
Meseta (October 2019)
Norte (Summer 2020)
Isn’t there more than one podiatrist in your city? Custom orthotics are far better than any over the counter ones. Superfeet were useless for me. You might to look at dr Scholls. They have a special heavier duty Sports insole that might work for you. Better than nothing.
There are a few...I've tried them all.
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
DoubleD Equipment Questions 25
Karen2017 Equipment Questions 8

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