How Often Do I Need to Replace My Custom Orthotics?
When you get a pair of custom orthotics from the Texas Foot & Ankle Center, you know you’re getting a high-quality set of equipment that is built to last.
Orthotics are medical devices worn inside shoes to treat biomechanical foot disorders that limit your ability to walk, stand, or run. Custom orthotics can be helpful if you have flat feet, arthritis, bursitis and other foot and ankle conditions. At Texas Foot & Ankle Center, our orthotics have continued to provide effective foot pain relief for years.
Unlike flimsy drugstore insoles, which tend to wear out in a matter of months or even weeks, our orthotics can typically continue to provide effective foot pain relief for years.
Unfortunately, even the highest-quality orthotics ultimately have to be replaced. Because of this, it’s undoubtedly important to know the lifespan of your orthotics and what to consider in a worn-out pair. This knowledge can help you decide when to get your orthotics repaired or replaced before they stop cushioning your feet.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always so easy to determine that point. While a typical custom orthotic might last around 2-3 years on average, not every case is a typical one. Some people need theirs replaced every year, while others can get 5 years or more (occasionally much more) of use out of theirs.
In other words, it really is a case-by-case thing. But as we said, you can still learn to identify the early warning signs and make sure you come in for your yearly orthotics checkup to ensure you are getting the most out of your orthotics for their full-service life—without waiting too long to upgrade!
5 Signs You Need Custom Orthotics Replacements
We share below some telltale signs that it may be time to replace your orthotics:
Your Foot or Ankle Pain Has Returned
A strong signal that your orthotics are no longer functioning well is if you start to feel the same pain you did before getting your orthotics. Also, if you’ve developed recent problems in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or back, it might be an indicator that your orthotic has seen better days and might need replacing.
Assess the lifespan of your orthotics to see whether they are still fit for purpose. A set of orthotics made from a semi-rigid material like graphite or carbon fiber, for example, may be expected to last a bit longer than orthotics made from very soft and squishy materials.
You may need a new pair of hard plastic custom orthotics every three to five years. But if they’re built of soft plastic or foam, you may have to replace them annually.
How often you wear them also affects how long they will last. In general, most of our patients with orthotics are instructed to wear them at all times. However, some may only need orthotics for certain shoes or activities, or you may have different pairs of orthotics for different pairs of shoes. If you aren’t walking on that set every day, or for only a few hours every day, they’ll last longer.
Look at the Bottoms of Your Shoes
Your shoes wearing out more heavily on one side can mean poor feet alignment or unequal weight distribution. Check the soles of your shoes to determine if there are any indications of uneven wear, and get your orthotics review from our experts.
Your Custom Orthotics Appear Old
One sign that your orthotics’ usefulness is waning, and they can no longer support your feet is if they are worn down. Check your orthotics for cracks, broken pieces, or thinning soles, which are clear indications that your orthotics’ time is running out.
Other Significant Changes
Lifestyle changes may also dictate whether you require new orthotics. Body changes such as pregnancy or foot injuries may require a revision in the prescription for your orthotics because your current pair may not account for the new bodily changes.
Also, as you might expect, people who spend a lot of time standing and walking (or even running and jumping) will wear down their orthotics faster than those who are mostly sedentary.
How Long Can Custom Orthotics Last?
Typically, custom orthotics last for 1-5 years. It’s important to note that lifespan depends on how they look and how they are used. Knowing how to identify the early warning signs and going for regular reviews can help you get the full lifetime value of your orthotics.
At Texas Foot & Ankle Center, assess your orthotics to determine whether a replacement is necessary. Sometimes, adjustments or repairs might return your orthotics to great condition, prolong their lifespan, and save you money.
Could Your Orthotics Be Adjusted or Repaired Instead of Replaced?
In many cases, the answer is yes!
It depends on the age of the orthotics, the materials used to create them, how extensive the wear or damage is, and how much your foot mechanics have changed in the meantime.
But in general, we’d rather repair, refurbish, or adjust your orthotics rather than outright replace them if we can.
Many orthotics can be reshaped to a degree through heat molding, adjusting the arch height, adding additional cushioning or material, adding heel lifts, replacing covers, and other methods.
Signs that Your Orthotics May Need to Be Repaired or Replaced
The main warning sign that you need to be most concerned about is pain. If your orthotics had previously been working great, but recently you’ve started to notice your feet are developing aches and pains more frequently, that should be a huge, flashing red light that something needs to change.
That said, you should also regularly inspect your orthotics for signs of wear and damage. A small stain or a couple of scuff marks are probably nothing to worry about, of course. But if you notice materials are warping, cracking, or buckling, your orthotics are probably about to go—if they are even still doing you any good at all.
Is it Time to Get Your Orthotics Checked?
Regardless of whether you are experiencing any noticeable difficulties with your custom orthotics, we strongly encourage you to visit us at least once per year for an annual orthotics checkup.
You may not notice anything wrong now, but our podiatrists might! We’ll assess the health of your orthotics, recheck your feet, and determine if any adjustments are required. Again, we hope that your orthotics will be repaired, refurbished, adjusted, or replaced as necessary before your feet start to hurt, not after!
Stopping in for annual checkups is a great way to help catch and deal with issues with orthotics early, so you can continue to enjoy a pain-free activity with no setbacks!
At Texas Foot & Ankle Center, we’re pleased to offer our patients custom orthotics services. Prescribed by our podiatrists, Dr. Matthew Babich, Dr. Paul Kinberg, and Dr. Tommy Ho, orthotics can be effective in treating many foot problems, including ankle and heel pain.
If your orthotics don’t seem to relieve your discomfort as they once did, or if it’s only been over a year since you had them professionally inspected, call us right away. You can reach our office at (214) 660-0777 or contact us online.
Doctor's Professional Building 1
1151 N. Buckner Boulevard, Suite 201
Dallas, TX 75218
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