If you have an orthotic device, you might be wondering when to replace custom orthotics. After all, these devices are unlike flimsy drugstore insoles that could wear out in a few weeks or months. Despite their longevity for both children and adults, there comes a point when you’ll need to change orthotics and replace your old one with something that provides you better support.
Factors that Can Affect the Lifespan of Your Orthotics
How often should you replace orthotics? There are many factors that determine the lifespan of your orthotic device. Some determining factors include:
- Construction materials: If you have a set of orthotics that are made from a semi-rigid material such as carbon fiber or graphite, it will usually last longer than orthotics that are made from squishy, soft materials.
- How much you wear them: Generally speaking, most of our patients with an orthotic device typically wear them at all times. In some cases, you might need to wear orthotics for specific activities or with specific shoes. If you aren’t using your orthotics every day, or if you only wear them for a few hours per day, they will last longer.
- Your overall lifestyle: Your shoe insert will be put to the test if you spend a significant amount of time walking or running every day compared with those who are sedentary.
- Your body: Your body makeup, such as your weight, will impact how quickly your orthotics wear down. For example, an adult male will wear down his orthotics faster than a teenage girl.
- Major medical or life events: Custom orthotics are designed to fit your gait mechanics, but major life events such as pregnancy or surgery can change this.
- Passing time: Something as simple as how your body naturally ages and changes is another factor to consider. It’s natural for your feet to slowly change over the course of your life which could require new orthotic inserts.
Could My Orthotics Be Adjusted or Repaired Instead of Replaced?
In many cases, instead of opting to replace your orthotics, you could choose to repair or adjust your insoles instead. Whether or not this is a possibility depends on how old your current orthotics are, the material that was used to create them, the extent of the wear or damage, and how drastically your foot mechanics have changed over time. Generally speaking, it’s ideal to repair, adjust, or refurbish your orthotics rather than replace them altogether. Many can be heated and adjusted to add more of a lift or add additional support to make them better suited for you.
How Do You Know When You Need to Replace or Repair Your Custom Orthotics?
One of the main signs that you should update your orthotics is that you are experiencing ongoing pain. You might have noticed signs that while your initial professionally made orthotics were very effective, over time, they have started to become less effective. This is a big red flag that your orthotics are worn out and you should seek a medical professional to get new ones.
On a similar note, it’s important that you are regularly looking at your orthotics for any major signs of wear and damage. Something small such as a stain or minor scuff marks is no cause for concern, but if you notice that the materials are beginning to warp, crack, or buckle, this is an indicator that your orthotics are on their last leg.
Make sure to pay extra attention if:
- You are experiencing a major life event such as an injury, surgery, or pregnancy.
- You have lost or gained a significant amount of weight.
- You have made drastic changes to your exercise routine or overall lifestyle.
The right custom orthotics can make a world of difference in your overall health and well-being! If you’re ready to take the next steps toward improving your comfort and functionality, our team at Prime Care Orthotics and Prosthetics is happy to assist you. Please contact us today for additional information or to schedule an appointment.