A good pair of custom orthotics can last for several years without wearing out, especially if you take good care of them. However, inevitably, there will come a time when your orthotics must be updated in some way—whether that means you need a whole new set, or you just need your current ones adjusted, repaired, or refurbished.
How will you know when that time comes? Here are some things to check or think about.
The “imaginary string test.” Take your orthotics out of your shoes, place them on a hard and flat surface, and stand on them. Now bend one knee forward, keeping the other foot flat. Imagine dropping a string from the kneecap. Would it fall between the first and second toes? If not, your orthotics are probably worn out or misaligned.
Signs of physical wear. Scan your orthotics for obvious signs of damage, including cracks, warping, compressed padding, and the like. Now press the arch of the orthotic with your hands. Does it retain a sturdy shape, or fold like a deck of cards? Arches that collapse too easily probably aren’t offering the support you need anymore.
Pain. Here’s another telltale sign—your feet hurt. A working pair of custom orthotics should restore proper alignment to your feet and give you all the support and cushioning you need to get through your day. If you find that pain is returning or your feet are easily fatigued or become sore, your orthotics may need work.
The soles of your shoes. Check the bottom of any pair of shoes you regularly use with your orthotics. How is the tread wear? If it looks unusual or uneven (for example, one shoe is much more worn than the other), it’s a sign that your orthotics aren’t properly aligned.
Significant lifestyle changes in the recent past. Your orthotics were built to address a specific problem (or set of problems) at a specific point in your life. But our feet, bodies, and problems may change over time. If you’ve had a recent surgery, pregnancy, weight change (gain or loss), or other lifestyle factor, that could influence the effectiveness of your orthotics.
As a general rule, it’s good practice to return to our office at least once per year to have Dr. Powers check your feet and your orthotics. You don’t have to be in pain or notice any obvious signs that something is wrong. Even a few tiny adjustments can help you get the greatest benefit from your custom orthotics and increase their useful lifespan. If it’s been over a year since your orthotics were checked, or you are experiencing any problems with them, call us today at (812) 333-4422.