Does Your Child Complain that the Orthotics Hurt? – Read This Before You Replace Them!

I came along with many situations in which children complained about their orthotics hurting their feet. It happens very often, so before you replace your kids’ orthotics or take your child to the doctor, I want to show you what might be causing the discomfort, and you will be surprised to know that in most cases the pain is not related to the orthotic itself.

For some children standing in a pair of orthotics for the first time might feel like they are standing on a hard ball that is applying a lot of pressure to the arch of the foot, while for other children it might feel great!

Is it Normal for my Kids’ Orthotics to Hurt?

Your kids’ orthotics are designed to help your kids’ feet, not hurt them. However, most children might have a hard time adjusting to the orthotics at first. This usually happens to children who have flat feet and they complain that they feel a “bump” below their feet. That bump is actually the arch support of the orthotics.

Some over-the-counter orthotics need to be firm and corrective, to help treat your child’s foot conditions. The firmer the orthotic is, the more time it might take your child to adjust to how it feels.

The Top 3 Reasons Why Orthotics Hurt – Find Out Now!

The shoes that your child wears are usually the main cause of why orthotics hurt. Let me elaborate.

➡️ Reason #1: The orthotics are not fitting correctly inside the shoes.

This is by far the most common reason why children complain that their orthotics hurt. Orthotics that are not fitted in the correct pair of shoes tend to bunch up and create discomfort. Let me prove it to you!

Orthotics tend to bunch up inside shoes when the shoes are not deep enough for the orthotics. One key feature that your kids’ shoes must provide is extra depth. Do you notice how the orthotic is bunching up inside the shoes made by Nike (left image) compared to the New Balance shoe (right image)?

What a difference the correct pair of shoes can make!

Fitting the orthotics in the wrong pair of shoes can cause the orthotics to work incorrectly and this can lead to discomfort and can even make the original problem worse. I created a different resource that showcases the best shoes for orthotics.

Let’s now take a look at the second most common reason why children complain that the orthotics hurt.

➡️ Reason #2: The orthotic is made from hard materials.

It is a fact that some orthotics are made from harder materials to treat specific foot conditions, such as toe walking. However, most over-the-counter orthotics should be soft and provide targeted support to specific areas of your child’s feet such as below the arch and the heels.

Some of the most common reasons why children need to wear orthotics are:

  • Flat feet
  • Overpronation
  • Heel pain

All of these 3 foot conditions can be treated with orthotics made from lightweight yet supportive, cushioning material with shock-absorbing heel and forefoot padding.

➡️ Reason #3: The orthotic is moving too much inside your kids’ shoes.

I always recommend full-length orthotics over 3/4 length orthotics since they always fit better inside the shoes. The 3/4 length orthotics tend to move too much inside of the shoes and this usually leads to discomfort.

This is how a 3/4 orthotic looks like:

This is how a full-length orthotic looks like:

If your child is wearing 3/4 length orthotics you should consider switching them to a full-length one and see if your child stops complaining that the orthotics hurt.

How Long Before Orthotics Stop Hurting?

I have noticed that each child will adapt to orthotics on their own schedule, so this is a difficult question for me to answer.

Keep in mind that your child’s feet and legs need to adjust to being in a more efficient position and will experience pressure in different places. However, I noticed through the years how it typically only takes about one to two weeks for the average child to adjust to wearing orthotics, although some others adapt almost immediately. It should never take more than 2 weeks for your child to adapt to the orthotics.

How Do I Know if my Kids’ Orthotics are Working?

The most effective way to figure out if your kids’ orthotics are working is to check if your child’s walking gait has improved and if your child stops complaining about foot or leg pain.

There is one particular way you can check whether the orthotics are effective or not. Have your child stand up on the orthotics and check whether his/her feet look straighter or not. For example, let’s take a look at an image of a flat-footed child standing barefoot. Do you notice how the child’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?


Now let’s take a look at an image of the same child standing in a pair of supportive orthotics. Do you notice how straighter the feet are?


How Can I Help my Child Adjust to His New Orthotics?

If your child is having a hard time adjusting to his new orthotics, I suggest that your child wears them for an hour on day one, two hours on day two, and continuously progress each day so that by the end of the two weeks, they can wear the orthotic comfortably all day.

How Often Should Orthotics be Replaced?

If the orthotics are fitted correctly inside of the shoes they should be replaced every 5 1/2 to 6 months. You should constantly inspect your child’s orthotics to make sure your child has not outgrown them.

You can simply do this by removing the orthotics and having your child stand upon them. Make sure that the toes are not overlapping the orthotic, if they are, then it’s time to order a new pair:

Make sure to also replace your child’s orthotics as soon as they are showing signs of wear and tear.

Your kids’ orthotics should never cause blisters, increase the current pain level, or cause new problems.

Please keep in mind that while it might take some time for your child to get used to the new orthotics, they’ll make a world of a difference in improving your child’s posture and relieving your child’s foot and leg pain.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about whether your child is wearing the correct orthotic or if the orthotics are fitting correctly inside of your kids’ shoes: [email protected]