How Long Do Orthotics Last?

After putting up with foot pain for so long, the comfort of orthotics is often a welcome relief. Yes, there may be some initial discomfort, but once you’ve worn them in, it often feels like you’re suddenly walking on clouds. And who doesn’t want that sensation to last as long as possible? 

Whether this is your first pair of orthotics or your first time back in them after wearing out your old ones and not replacing them (it happens), the feeling is incredible. But how long can it last? 

This article looks at how long orthotics last and what you may be able to do to extend their lifespan. For personalised advice, contact our team at Foot Health Clinic today.

How Long Do Orthotics Last
How Long Do Orthotics Last

 

What are Orthotics?   

Orthotics, sometimes referred to as orthotic devices, are inserts designed to slide into your shoes. They sit on the soles of your shoes and work to cushion and protect your feet as you take each step. These are medical devices that aim to keep you on your feet and with as little pain as possible, for as long as possible every day. 

There are two types of orthotics: Over-the-counter (or store-bought) and custom orthotics. Over-the-counter orthotics are mass-produced, while custom orthotics are designed for your specific foot (and each one is different!). The orthotics that may be helpful for some may not be beneficial for others, depending on their foot biomechanics and any foot or ankle conditions they may have. 

Some people may need orthotics to increase their arch (the area between the heel and toes) if they have flat feet, some may have them to assist with arthritis pain, and some may use them for other foot and ankle conditions. 

Orthotics may assist people dealing with: 

 

Signs You May Need to Replace Your Orthotics 

Regardless of how well-made your orthotics are, no piece of equipment can last forever! Even the highest-quality orthotics will eventually need to be replaced. Some signs you may need to replace your orthotics include: 

1. Your Pain Has Returned, or New Pain Has Appeared 

If you notice that your original pain from pre-orthotics has returned, it may be time to replace them. You may also, or instead, notice new pains that you didn’t have while wearing your orthotics or before you wore them. You may also notice that you’ve developed corns or calluses, which typically form due to friction between your foot and footwear. 

2. Your Shoes are Showing Wear and Tear 

As orthotics are designed to adapt to your unique feet, when you wear them in your regular shoes, you’ll typically notice less wear and tear on your shoes than you used to. For example, you might have used to wear your shoes down in a particular spot due to your gait, and since you got your orthotics, you haven’t noticed that issue with your shoes anymore. If that wear and tear pattern begins again, it’s likely that your orthotics need to be replaced. 

3. Your Orthotics Have Aged or Become Damaged 

Check your orthotics regularly and inspect them for any damage. If they seem to be thin or worn down, have any cracks, or even have pieces that have broken off, it’s time to have them replaced. 

 4. Your Lifestyle Has Changed 

Changes in your body may make a larger impact on your feet than you may think. For example, pregnancy tends to affect the feet as they now have to bear more weight than they used to, which may affect your orthotics. Lifestyle changes may play into this as well, such as taking up a new sport or hobby that keeps you on your feet because your current orthotics generally weren’t designed with that lifestyle in mind.

 

How Can I Extend the Life of My Orthotics? 

While your orthotics will need to be replaced at some point, there are ways you may be able to extend their lifespan.

1. Choose the Right Material 

To begin with, orthotics made from harder materials tend to be longer-lasting than those made from softer materials. Choose materials like polypropylene, graphite, or carbon fibre over soft, squishy materials like EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), which tend to wear down sooner.

2. Wear Them as Prescribed 

One key component in your orthotics’ lifespan is how often you use them. Every person’s orthotics are designed for their unique needs, so some people are expected to wear them at all times, while others wear theirs just for certain activities. If you wear yours all day, every day, they will wear out faster than if you use them a couple of times per week. They may also wear down faster if you wear them while running or playing sports, as this exerts more pressure on them. For this reason, athletes such as runners will typically need to replace their orthotics more often than people who wear theirs for an hour or so a day.

3. Check Them Regularly 

Lastly, it’s essential to take good care of your orthotics to help them work well for as long as possible. Have your podiatrist check them at regular intervals to ensure they still fit your needs and lifestyle, and check them yourself every so often for any visible damage. However, regular professional review is still important, as podiatrists are trained to recognise changes in your orthotics that you may not be able to see. 

How Long Do Orthotics Last? 

Generally speaking, orthotics often last between one and five years. This depends on a range of factors, such as the material they’re made from, how often you’re expected to wear them, and what activities you wear them for.  

 

Get Started on the Right Foot With Orthotics from Foot Health Clinic 

Our feet are some of the most complex structures in our bodies, and ones we typically use nearly all day, every day. So it makes sense to take care of them as best you can! If custom orthotics may be beneficial for you, or if your current orthotics are looking a little aged, there’s no better time to address these issues than right now. 

At Foot Health Clinic, we work with adults and children alike and offer many types of custom orthotics for a wide range of foot and ankle conditions. To get started on the right foot, book your appointment today!

 

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ABOUT US

Foot Health Clinic is a Brisbane kids, family and active adventurers podiatry clinic. We are recognised Foot and Ankle Professionals.

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