How long will my Orthotics last?
So you’ve just been prescribed a pair of orthotics and now you’re wondering how long they will last? The answer is …… it depends. As a rule of thumb, most customised orthotics should last you between two to three years – sometimes more, and sometimes less.
Top reasons why your Orthotics may need to be replaced
- The type of material they are made from: Hard materials, such as polypropylene or carbon fibre will tend to last the longest. Softer, more spongy materials like EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) are likely to wear out sooner.
- How much you use them: If you use your orthotics daily and tend to use them for sports as well as everything else, this is likely to reduce the life of your orthotics as you are making them work really hard! Marathon runners, for example, who run many kilometres a week in orthotics may need to replace them every year, whereas people who wear them only in their sports shoes on weekends might find they can last much longer.
- Changes in your feet: If your feet have noticeably changed over time, or if you have had foot surgery after you had your orthotics issued may mean you need to replace them. Your prescription is based on how your foot was at the time we took the foot scan, so noticeable changes mean that your prescription may not be right for you anymore.
- Are you getting pain? When your orthotics are starting to wear out, people may notice some discomfort in their feet – this could be as little as not feeling quite as good in your shoes as you once were, or as serious as getting daily pain from doing your regular activities.
- Have you put on weight? Your orthotics have been designed for you at a snapshot in time. Your body weight as well as your activities will determine the density of the materials we use. If you have put on a significant amount of weight, your orthotics may no longer be able to hold your feet as well as we would like – leading to discomfort.
- Have you been pregnant? Seems like a weird one to ask – but, pregnancy is notorious for ruining feet! The oxytocin in your body to ready you for birth can lead to increased stretch in your ligaments – this unfortunately does not always go away after you give birth. Women will often notice a change in their feet – often described as becoming wider, and flatter, which therefore leads to your old pre-pregnancy orthotics not working as well for you as before!
How will I know when to get my orthotics checked?
At the time of your orthotic fitting, your Podiatrist will give you a recommendation based on your particular condition. Generally, we like to check your orthotics several times during the first year after we have issued them – this is to check that they are doing what we have prescribed them for! Sometimes in the first year, we may need to make small adjustments to your orthotics to get the fit and support exactly right for you, and this is all part of your orthotic journey. After you have been checked at the 12month mark, we will usually recommend that you return at the two-year mark for a review. Getting them checked on a yearly basis allows us to monitor your foot health, as well as the strength of your orthotics, and allows us to give you a better idea of how they are going and how long they will last.
But I haven’t had my orthotics checked for years and I’m feeling great!
Well that’s wonderful to hear and we love it when our patients have no pain or problems with their orthotics! We would still recommend if you have worn them for over 3 years without a check-up to come and see us for a review. Sometimes, while you may not notice there is anything happening with your feet, things can bubble under the surface taking you back to where you started. We like to keep people at their peak condition and checking them regularly means no nasty surprises!