Exercise and the use of insoles for painful feet.

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I have had RA for 5 years and was only able to walk short distances even in flat shoes. Wearing heels was impossible. Most of the pain was from my metatarsal heads but the arch of my right foot had dropped and my toes were starting to curl in an attempt to off load the painful ball of the foot. I found some insoles from a company called Barefoot Science. They have a system in the arch of the insole that acts like a spring of varying resistances and the arch gradually becomes stronger. The support also off loads the ball of the foot. I started wearing them in January and I have since walked 140 miles ( not in one go) of the SW coastal path without foot pain. I can now run a short distance and even managed to wear high heels, for a few hours, to my son's wedding last month.  My life has been transformed from regarding myself as heading downward to increasing disability to feeling very proud and dare I say it, fairly fit for a 56 year old.

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi

    that s brilliant! 

    Had you tried any other insoles before? Are these doing something new? I ask because they re quite expensive but worth it for mobility.

    i have some foot pain which seems to wear off as I walk during the day - but doesn't ever really go. For me it s toes/ ball of foot/ sides of feet and ankles.

    wondering which kind you got- therapeutic or some other?

    thanks for info.

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    • Posted

      Yes they are expensive. My first pair were 3/4 length and cost £25+VAT but I loved them so much that I wanted another pair. That's when I got a shock. A full length pair were £56. For me they are worth every penny because they have changed my life. They are Barefoot Science 5-7 step arch strengthening system. (Beware cheap fakes on ebay.) A cheaper alternative would be a simple metatarsal lift insole which sits behind the ball of the foot and off loads it. ( Not a metatarsal pad which sits underneath the ball of the foot). I have gone up a shoe size to accomodate the insole. Hope this helps.
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  • Posted

    Hi There,

    You sound like me only I have just been diagnosed after nearly 2 years of tests etc. I only have RA in the 2nd and third metarsals in both feet. I have orthotics @ $350.00AU, I found they are only sort of good in very supportive sneakers, they do not really support the metarsal area but distribute the weight more onto the heal alleviating some pressure, well that is the theory, maybe I need to be reassessed for new orthotics. Do you have RA anywhere else in the body yet?

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I have had it in my hands, wrists, knees, shoulders and feet and neck. I have always been very active and I found the foot problem the most debilitating. I walked on my heels for months but that weakened the arches and that put more pressure on the metatarsal heads so I curled up my toes to take the pressure off. These insoles lifted and strengthened the arch whilst relieving the pressure on the ball of the foot and hey presto I can now walk pain free. If I leave them out of my shoes for a couple of days the foot symptoms return. So not a cure but a very helpful aide to allow me to lead an active life again. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Penny,

    I found the distributor for Barefoot Science innersoles in Australia and had my appointment yesterday. I purchased some new sneakers (Hoka roll sneakers) that actually roll when you walk thus taking the pressure off the metatarsals and the inserts. I felt great the first day however today I have raging foot and back pain, apparently there is a period of adjustment, Iam interested to know how long it took for you to get used to these orthotics??

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    • Posted

      Hi Inger,

      I used the Barefoot Science 7 step arch strengthening system. There are 7 inserts that progressively rise over time. I didn't increase the insert until I was completely comfortable. I think my metatarsal pain was caused by weak foot muscles that caused my arch to drop. These have strengthened my arch and reduced the pain. The roll sneakers are very good if you have a stiff big toe joint but they will completely alter your stance and gait so I guess you will need to break yourself in. I had reduced pain from the first time I used the insoles. Are you using the insoles in the roll sneakers? Is it too much in one go?

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  • Posted

    Hi Penny,

    The Podiatrist recommended using the insole with the sneaker immediately and nothing else for two weeks. I was given Fit Flop thongs to use if I did not want to wear the sneakers 24/7 but the thongs are too painful.

    Slowly I have worn them all in and my posture has adjusted but it was a real process. I feel great in the sneakers but when I take them off my foot pain is raging. I like to cook  and iron in barefeet as the height of the sneaker puts my back out if that makes sense in relation to the maximum height of the kitchen bench and ironing board.

    I am having my last round of MRI's tomorrow. Happy I got these insoles and sneakers though.

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    • Posted

      That sounds quite brutal. The foot pain is probably caused by the muscles working differently and realigning your joints. Your joints are bound to complain. It might be a good idea to do as the podiatrist says and if you are comfortable then wear them all the time until they adjust and the joints are properly aligned and supported. The pain should then settle over a period of weeks or months. As regards ironing and cooking just put blocks under the ironing board and put pots and washing up bowls on a board. I wish you luck and pain free standing.
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