What are your experiences with orthotics? Processes? Why do you wear them? Adjust them over the years as your mechanics or arch change? Educate me about this totally unnatural looking thingy....
my podiatrist recommended orthotics for my hallux limitus (limited range of motion in my big toes, with arthritis in the joint).
I wore them a couple times (this was back in 2009) and realized that I was going to need to wait to adapt to them until after my half iron that summer.
Then I got hurt.
In the process of coming back from the Great Hip Disaster, I switched to minimal shoes (first Five Fingers, now Altras) in order to get rid of any heel height differential. This helped me keep my hips in a more correct position. I also gave up wearing any sort of a heel in everyday life. This more than anything helped me manage my pain and re-learn where my hips should be.
In the process of this, during one of my aborted returns to running, I realized that my big toe joint pain was gone. Part of that could be that my mileage is lower... but we theorize that with the extra room in the forefoot, my body has learned a compensating toe-off that avoids over-bending the big toes.
So I'll re-evaluate if I ever get my mileage to a point where the pain returns, but it used to hurt much of the time, and now it only hurts if I wear super high heels.
so in summary, yes, I have orthotics, and no, I don't plan on wearing them.
(I think Ron has them, though)
No experience here. But I do know people who swear by them. Some of these are decent runners. But to be honest, I don't know anybody who's been at it for many, many years and on top of their game -- like folks who I'm trying to catch -- who wear orthotics.
I have had them for 20+ years - I pronate when I run, but not when I walk. I don't wear them in my work shoes, unless they are boots. I just switched from hard kevlar orthotics to soft ones due to mid-foot pain on my right foot.
Both my husband and son wear them, and both are fairly competitive runners.
I believe it is highly dependent upon your foot structure and body mechanics. Some people need them, some people don't. some people can get away from wearing them, but it is a long slow process.
FWIW - I know for me, I cannot wear zero drop shoes - tried them and developed the aforementioned mid-foot pain...the soft orthotics are just enough to provide some stability without over controlling the motion of my foot.
I will note that I have strong feet with high arches, and throughout my life have spent a significant amount of time barefoot - that's much of why I've done so well in minimalist/zero drop shoes.