After getting your very own pair of custom orthotics, you may have been wondering why it took you so long to adopt this wonderfully easy way to improve the quality of your life and protect your feet. After all, now you are able to walk your dog without heel pain and stay active despite those bunions that once gave you so much trouble.
But there is still something to consider: how long do orthotics last? And when should you replace them with a new pair?
After a few years of wear and tear, you may notice that your orthotics just aren’t quite as comfortable as they once were, and walking around with worn-out orthotics can end up causing your body more harm than good – from hindering your comfort while walking to causing backaches and even headaches.
But the truth is, there is no strict timeline. What it often boils down to is how you feel and if your shoes are showing excessive signs of wear and tear. In other words, if the condition you are treating with custom orthotics starts to give you discomfort again, or if your footwear is looking a little rough, then it’s time to come visit our office so we can evaluate your orthotics.
We may also examine your foot condition once again to determine if your current type of orthotics is still the most suitable for you.
Is It Time for a New Pair?
Typically, custom orthotics will last between 1-5 years. Their lifespan really depends on the amount of wear and tear they sustain. The material they are made from also determines when they will need to be replaced – hard plastics only require replacement every 5 years, while soft plastics and foams usually need to be replaced every 1-2 years.
Although, there are other factors to take into consideration:
Are You Feeling Pain?
No matter if you are experiencing returning symptoms from previous foot or ankle conditions, or if you are developing a whole new type of discomfort, pain is a huge indication that your custom orthotics may need replacing. In fact, you shouldn’t be feeling pain while standing, jogging, or even jumping in your orthotics.
You should also lookout for any developing calluses or corns – these may mean your feet have been rubbing the inside of your shoes, which shouldn’t be happening either.
How Are You Using Your Orthotics?
If you use orthotics to get around or just for your day-to-day activities, they will not wear as quickly as those used for sports and recreational activities. Activities like jogging, for instance, may wear down your orthotics quicker than wearing them while at work each day.
So if you are regularly active while using your orthotics, then you should check them more often to make sure they are still providing the support and protection you need.
How Are Your Orthotics Looking?
The condition of your orthotics is a huge factor here. While they are great for providing support and comfort, they will only do so if their structure is undamaged.
Remove your orthotics from your shoes and take a look at them. Do you see any cracks or broken pieces? How about the soles? Do they look a little thin? If so, they need to be replaced.
Are Your Shoes Looking Rough?
Your shoes also play a big role in deciding whether or not it is time to replace your orthotics. Look at the bottom of your shoes. Do you notice any uneven wear?
Custom foot orthotics are created to correct the alignment of your body and any abnormalities of your feet. Uneven wear at the bottom of your shoe means they’re not doing their job anymore.
Have You Experienced Any Recent Health Changes?
Significant lifestyle changes require new custom orthotics. This means if you have had knee surgery, become pregnant, gain or lose weight (etc.), you may need new orthotics to accommodate these changes in your body.
This is because custom orthotics are, well, custom-made, and any major changes in your body structure will likely also change the specific orthotics requirements.
Most custom orthotics will last for several years, and insurance companies often help with the cost of replacing these devices whenever they present any problems. Before you replace your orthotics, check with your insurance carrier.
The bottom line is replacing your worn-out orthotics before they fall apart completely is vital. On the other hand, if you continue to use old, beat-up custom orthotics, you could find yourself with foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back pain, and even headaches!
Are You Considering Custom Orthotics in Austin, TX?
If you are considering custom orthotics, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900..