Every new year is an opportunity to evaluate things in your life. This means it’s a good time for introspection and some deep soul-searching in a quest to become a better person and drive positive social change.
This also means it’s a good time to evaluate the physical condition of your orthotics. (Some might even say those are equally important!)
So before you start on your journey toward self-improvement, you should make sure your feet are going to be comfortable, as well as take measures to reduce the risk of painful injuries – and a orthotic evaluation is a great way to start.
Refurbish or Replace: Know the Difference
Before we dive too deep into this topic, it’s important to understand the difference between “refurbish” and “replace.”
Quality orthotic devices will generally hold up for 2-3 years under heavy use – sometimes even longer. And as long as they are performing their intended function, there is no need to get your orthotics replaced. Now, if the top parts of the orthotics are looking a little beat up and worse for wear, it’s likely time to get them refurbished.
You see, in some ways orthotics work much like a car – the functional part of an orthotic is below the surface. You can think about the orthotic top cover as being like the car’s coat of paint – scratches in the paint job are not going to affect the car’s ability to get you where you need to go. In fact, the engine is the most important element of a well-functioning car.
When it comes to orthotics, the important part – the “engine,” if you will – is usually in the back half. And while the front portion of the orthotic is certainly made to specific measurements, it is mostly used to fill the bottom of the shoe so the orthotic can stay in place and not slide around.
But when should you consider replacing your orthotics with a new pair?
If your orthotics are looking shredded or mangled, if you are experiencing pain despite wearing them as instructed, or if your foot structure or walking gait have significantly changed since you first got your pair of orthotics, you may be interested in having them replaced. Should this be the case, come in and we’ll be glad to help!
We can determine if your orthotics are still doing their job, and replace or refurbish them as necessary.
Do You Need a New Pair of Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are one of the most powerful and effective tools we have against many kinds of chronic foot pain. Often the discomfort patients experience is, at least in part, the result of feet that aren’t well designed to handle the strain of walking on hard, flat, unforgiving surfaces.
Custom orthotics, in turn, are designed to provide exactly the cushioning and support your feet need to function correctly and stay pain-free.
When well maintained and periodically adjusted, orthotics can last for up to several years – but that certainly doesn’t mean they are indestructible. Here are some things to keep in mind when determining if you need a new pair of orthotics:
- How long have you had them? The typical lifespan of a set of orthotics is anywhere from 1 to 5 years, depending on what they’re made from and how well you treat them. Even if you aren’t experiencing any problems, it’s a good idea to get them evaluated every 12 months, at least to see if they need to be adjusted.
- How do you use them? Orthotics that are used for athletic activities, like running and sports, will wear out faster than those used just for walking or getting around.
- Are you experiencing pain? If you notice symptoms of discomfort slowly returning to your feet, it’s a good sign that something is amiss. It could be that you simply need a minor adjustment to your current orthotics, but it’s also possible they need to be replaced entirely.
- Are there any signs of damage? A scuff or two is probably fine, but if you notice cracks or significant wear, it’s time for a new pair.
- Have you had any major lifestyle changes since your last fitting? Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight, pregnancy, surgery to your knees or back, or even natural aging are all examples of life events that can dramatically change your posture and the way you walk. This may also mean you need new orthotics to accommodate these changes.
That said, you should make sure you come visit our office at least once per year for a routine checkup. And if you notice damage or experience any pain or discomfort, you should come visit our office as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure you continue to get the best possible results from your custom orthotics and enjoy life to the fullest!
Get Your Orthotics Evaluation Today!
Still not sure if your orthotics need some attention?
Call our office at (480) 963-9000 today to schedule an appointment at either of our convenient locations (Chandler or Gilbert). Our foot and ankle experts will help you determine whether you need your orthotics refurbished or replaced.