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Can heel wedges for supination cause knee problems?

I’m a rather sedentary 72-year-old nature photographer with pain in both knees.  In 71 years, I’ve NEVER had knee pain in either knee, and no other changes have occurred in my daily routines.  Just a normal, older, bald, overweight person.

The specific question I’m looking for information on is whether using heel wedges in footwear to help with supination can cause knee problems.  Now for lots of boring history.
In September 2022 I was found to supinate (walk on the outside of my feet).  Apparently, I always have since I’ve rolled my left foot under intermittently since I was a teen.  Nobody ever told me I supinated.  The recommended ¼” wedges in all my shoes, so I added them to all my footwear.  It being into the ugly season in Minnesota, there was very little walking (a couple weekly aqua exercise classes) into January 2023.  
Went to Florida to photograph birds and spent my time walking in swamps and such.  Some right knee pain developed, but not enough to keep me restricted.  Used ice, Voltaren, acetaminophen, and took a day off as needed.  On March 30, while in Florida I “sprained” the right knee when I twisted wrong going up the stairs into the RV.  Obtained crutches from a local provider, spent the next 9 days immobile in the RV, then 5 days getting back to MN.  

Doctor said “soft tissue injury”, knee sprain, but lots of cartilage in the knee.  A few weeks on crutches, a few weeks doing exercises in rehab, and using a knee support, and the knee was pretty good.  By September 2023, when we went on vacation, things were pretty good.

On vacation, more walking, and developed some knee pain in my LEFT knee.  But again, nothing that kept me from doing things (used ice, Voltaren, acetaminophen).  Returned home, and on November 16, walked across a parking lot, and in that fifty feet my left knee went from no pain to being unable to put any weight on it.

Was finally able to see my doctor on December 10, had X-ray, and she indicated it was a soft tissue injury as again, there was lots of cartilage and no apparent problem in the left knee either.  At the time I visited the doctor, a few weeks after the injury, I was able to walk without crutches, though with pain and a limp.  By Christmas I was off the crutches and the knee was doing pretty well, with less pain.

On January 9, 2024, I was finally able to see rehab person.  Exercises again, similar to right knee, except this time the pain didn’t return to baseline the next day.  By week three of rehab, after the session I was back on the crutches the next day.  

To make matters EXTRA interesting, I had a bout of vertigo one day, and while trying to move around with the crutches and absolutely NO balance, I managed to twist the right knee again, so now BOTH knees were painful and unsupportive.  Fortunately, the vertigo was short-lived, and within 36 hours I was no longer dizzy.  But the left knee continued to be sore when weight was put on it, and the right knee stiff in the back when extended.

Saw an orthopedist on February 6, who THINKS it may be a tear in the left meniscus, so I’m having an MRI on February 16 (tomorrow).  In the meantime, at the 4th rehab visit I was improved afterward to the point of again not needing the crutches, and in the days between the 4th and 5th rehab visits I walked normally with minimal pain.

Unfortunately, at the 5th rehab visit I was again forced back onto the crutches for the next two days, until the pain receded.

SO, at the moment no crutches, some pain but not a lot, and an upcoming MRI.

Back to my original question…  How likely is it that changing the angle of my ankles has been the proximate cause of the knee issues I’ve had over this past year?  When I asked the orthopedist, he indicated it was “possible”, but with an expression that said it was unlikely.


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