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Can Orthotics Cause Hip Pain

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Orthotics, custom-made or over-the-counter shoe inserts, are commonly used to address various foot and lower limb issues. However, individuals who use orthotics may sometimes experience unexpected discomfort, including hip pain. This article explores the question, “Can Orthotics Cause Hip Pain,” and delves into the factors that can contribute to this issue.

Understanding Orthotics

Before we discuss the potential connection between orthotics and hip pain, it’s essential to understand the role of orthotics:

Orthotics are devices designed to provide support and alleviate issues related to foot and lower limb function. They can be custom-made, crafted specifically for an individual’s unique needs, or purchased over-the-counter. Orthotics aim to improve comfort, reduce pain, and enhance overall mobility by addressing various conditions, such as flat feet, high arches, or gait abnormalities.

Orthotics and Hip Pain

While orthotics are primarily intended to improve foot and lower limb function, they can indirectly affect other parts of the body, including the hips. Hip pain related to orthotics is not common, but it can occur. The relationship between orthotics and hip pain can be attributed to several factors, including:

Possible Causes of Hip Pain from Orthotics

There are several potential causes for hip pain that may be associated with the use of orthotics:

1. Overuse and Adjustment Period: When you first start using orthotics, your body may need time to adapt. Overuse or not allowing your body to adjust to the changes can lead to muscle fatigue and, in some cases, hip pain.

2. Improperly Fitted Orthotics: Ill-fitting orthotics can contribute to hip pain. If your orthotics are not designed correctly or do not align with your foot structure, they can lead to gait issues that may affect your hips.

3. Gait Changes and Muscle Imbalances: Orthotics can alter your walking or running gait, which, if not properly managed, may lead to muscle imbalances and hip pain. Changes in gait patterns can impact the alignment of your hips and cause discomfort over time.

Overuse and Adjustment Period

One common reason for hip pain related to orthotics is overuse or not allowing your body sufficient time to adapt to the new support. Here are some key considerations:

1. Gradual Adjustment: When you start using orthotics, your body needs time to adapt to the changes in foot support and gait. It’s essential to allow for a gradual adjustment period, especially if you are transitioning from non-supportive footwear.

2. Monitoring Activity Level: Engaging in excessive physical activity or extended periods of standing or walking with orthotics, especially in the initial stages, can lead to muscle fatigue and hip discomfort. Pay attention to your activity level and make adjustments as needed.

Improperly Fitted Orthotics

Orthotics that are not properly fitted to your feet and do not align with your specific needs can contribute to hip pain. Here’s what to consider:

1. Consult a Specialist: To ensure your orthotics are well-suited to your needs, consult with a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist. They can assess your foot structure and gait to recommend the right type of orthotic for you.

2. Regular Check-ups: Periodically visit your healthcare provider to review the fit and effectiveness of your orthotics. They can make necessary adjustments to ensure they are providing the intended support.

Gait Changes and Muscle Imbalances

Orthotics can influence your gait, which is your unique walking or running pattern. Changes in your gait can, over time, affect the alignment of your hips and lead to discomfort. Here’s what to be aware of:

1. Gait Analysis: Consider undergoing a gait analysis with a qualified professional. This analysis can identify any gait abnormalities and help tailor your orthotics to your specific needs.

2. Muscle Strengthening: To prevent muscle imbalances that can contribute to hip pain, engage in exercises that strengthen the hip and lower back muscles. This can help maintain proper alignment.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If you experience hip pain related to your orthotics, it’s crucial to seek professional guidance. Here are some steps to consider:

1. Consult a Healthcare Provider: If you’re experiencing hip pain, consult with a healthcare provider, such as a podiatrist, orthopedic specialist, or physical therapist. They can assess the issue and recommend appropriate solutions.

2. Orthotic Evaluation: Have your orthotics evaluated to ensure they are correctly fitted and providing the necessary support. Adjustments may be necessary to address the issue.

Preventing Hip Pain from Orthotics

Preventing hip pain related to orthotics involves taking proactive steps to ensure a positive experience. Here’s what you can do:

1. Properly Fit Orthotics: Work with a healthcare provider to ensure your orthotics are well-fitted and tailored to your specific needs.

2. Gradual Use: Introduce orthotics gradually and allow your body to adjust over time. Avoid overuse in the initial stages.

3. Monitor Comfort: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain when using orthotics. If you experience hip pain, seek professional guidance promptly.

Exploring Alternatives

If hip pain persists despite efforts to address the issue, you may need to explore alternative solutions, such as:

1. Custom Orthotics Adjustment: If you have custom orthotics, they can often be adjusted to better suit your needs.

2. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help address muscle imbalances and gait issues that may be contributing to hip pain.


Orthotics are valuable tools for addressing various foot and lower limb issues, but they can sometimes lead to hip pain due to factors like overuse, improper fitting, and gait changes. If you experience hip discomfort while using orthotics, it’s essential to seek professional guidance to address the issue effectively. With the right support and adjustments, you can enjoy the benefits of orthotics without hip pain.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the potential causes of hip pain related to orthotics and taking steps to prevent and address the issue is essential for a positive orthotic experience. Keep these key takeaways in mind:

1. Gradual adjustment to orthotics is important to prevent overuse and discomfort.

2. Ensure that your orthotics are properly fitted by consulting with a healthcare provider.

3. Be aware of gait changes that may occur and consider a gait analysis if necessary.

4. Seek professional guidance if you experience hip pain while using orthotics.

Expert Advice on Orthotics and Hip Pain

We reached out to Dr. Sarah Johnson, a board-certified podiatrist, for her insights on the relationship between orthotics and hip pain:

“Orthotics can be extremely beneficial for foot and lower limb issues, but it’s important to remember that they can affect your gait and muscle engagement. If you experience hip pain, don’t hesitate to consult with a specialist. Properly fitted orthotics and, if needed, adjustments can often alleviate discomfort and provide the support you need.”

About the Author

Dr. Zac Cartun

After graduating medical school from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Zac Cartun consulted for health-tech companies expanding medical care. Since earning his M.B.A from Wharton X INSEAD, he is now bringing orthopedic and podiatric care to the home.