Contrary to popular opinion, custom foot orthotics do not last forever! It is amazing to me how many runners come in with an injury and take orthotics out of their shoes that were made when I was in high school! If your orthotics are more than 5 years old, they probably need to be replaced. Feet change and the devices start to wear out.
If you can't remember how old your orthotics are, here are some tips on how to determine if it is time to replace them:
- Your feet hurt!!! That pain you had reduced or cured with the device has made a comeback – I can’t think of a better reason to get your feet and devices checked
- Your orthotics are held together with duct tape, gorilla glue and cardboard – those home modifications just don’t do the trick!
- If your orthotics wobble, you may fall down – motion in devices that wasn’t there before can lead to foot pain and instability.
- The top cover looks is thinner than you remember or has comletely fallen off – with time all materials will flatten and wear, if your top cover is paper thin, looks like a piece of foam Swiss cheese, or has been missing for months, get it replaced.
- Cracks do not give character – cracks in the shell of device can occur with prolonged use, glue is not the answer and neither is duct tape.
- Added modifications are lost, loose or not providing the control or pressure relief they used too – just like top covers, modifications can flatten with time, and they can loosen and get lost.
These are just a few subtle reminders of when you need to have your orthotics replaced. Obviously other problems occur. While most devices last for several years, most insurance companies will replace a device yearly if problems with device are noted, so don’t hesitate and stop by for an evaluation. Just like eye glasses, your orthotics should be evaluated at least once a year by your favorite podiatrist!