We’ve reached the last quarter of the year and around now is the time people step out of their shoes and into their sandals. If you’re one of the many people who wear orthotics, now is the time to pull them out of your shoes and have a good look at them.
What do they look like? Are they beaten up? How do they feel when you walk? Are they comfortable or do they dig in a little bit? How long since you’ve had them looked at and checked? If you’re like the majority of patients, it is highly likely you have popped them into your shoes and haven’t needed (or haven’t thought) to have them checked periodically to make sure they’re still working the way their intended.
How long do most orthotics last? That answer varies considerably from person to person. It depends on age, gender, occupation, activity levels, height, weight and perhaps a little surprisingly, if you are pre or post-partum. The general rule of thumb is they should be checked generally for wear and tear annually if possible but 2 years is not unusual. If they are around the 5 year mark, the assessment is a little more thorough. Sometimes we will replace a cover if it has worn or remove something if it no longer functions as it did.
If they are older than 5 but less than 10 we generally look at reviewing whether they are still needed and make a determination about when they should be replaced. If they are older than 10 years we generally recommend replacing them completely, irrespective of their condition and this is largely to do with age.
Here is a general list of what you should expect when you are having your orthotics reviewed
- Check on the wear and tear of orthotics– it’s important to make sure the orthotics are wearing correctly. If an area is showing signs of excessive wear, reinforcing may be required and this will prolong their lifespan.
- Review covering materials – Covers are put on the upper shell of the orthotics to protect the essential materials. If covers are damaged or absent, the underlying materials will wear out faster or cause friction and irritation to your foot when you are wearing them.
- Evaluation of your current footwear – Footwear can determine the success or failure of your orthotics, so it’s vital to wear footwear that suits your foot and can accommodate your orthotics appropriately.
- Review your original symptoms – Our preference is to see you with no symptoms, but sometimes this is not the case and your orthotics may require additional features to achieve this.
An orthotic review is an important thing to undertake to ensure that any problems with the devices are fixed quickly and prevent any long term issues. Many of our patients here see us for both nail care and orthotic therapy so they are in a position to address issues as they come to hand, but if you’re not visiting your podiatrist regularly, no doubt getting your orthotics checked regularly is at the bottom of the list of things to do on your day off – especially if nothing hurts.
Next time you’re in for a visit, if you are concerned or simply curious, just ask your Podiatrist to check your orthotics and they will be able to do that quickly in your consultation.
Have a wonderful week,