Do you own a pair of orthotics? Are your orthotics experiencing general wear and tear, or not fitting as comfortably as they once were? At Applied Biomechanics, a common question that comes up during our assessments is: how often do I need new orthotics?
Orthotics do fatigue over time and start to lose their support. However, there is no clear answer about when you should replace your orthotics.
Orthotics are similar to the tires on your car. It is not a matter of how long you have owned them, but how many kilometers you have put on them that counts. There is no exact limit to help you determine when your orthotics are no longer effective at supporting the foot.
A general rule of thumb is that you should consider replacing your orthotics every two to three years. That being said, we recommend that you come in for an orthotics check up on an annual basis, although you may want to come in earlier in certain situations. If you’re interested in an orthotics review, you can book your appointment with us today.
If you really want to find out whether you need to change your orthotics, the best solution is to consult with a professional orthotist or pedorthist — like our team of specialists at Applied Biomechanics. Through a reassessment including a foot examination, biomechanical testing, and a review of your gait (walking), our team will be able to determine if your orthotics are still providing the support, control, and comfort that you need.
Here are a few questions that a professional orthotist or pedorthist is likely to ask you:
How hard do you use your orthotics?
Every individual will use their orthotics differently. If you have an office job, you are unlikely to use your orthotics as hard as a person who works a service job, which requires them to be on their feet for most of the day (i.e. a server, a contractor, a landscaper).
Are you particularly active in your personal life? Do your hobbies include sports like running, soccer, tennis, or golf that require lots of walking in footwear? If so, it is likely that you will need to change your orthotics more frequently than others.
Have you had an injury that changes your condition?
If you have recently experienced an injury or undergone surgery (such as knee or hip replacement surgery) that changes your condition (or affects your level of activity), this can also affect the condition of your orthotics.
A change in your condition may cause increased wear on a specific section of your orthotics, for example, if you are putting more weight on one leg.
A change in condition may also decrease the effectiveness of your current orthotics. We highly recommend that you consult with our team in this situation, so we can assess whether your orthotics will continue to work as intended.
Have you changed to a new pair of shoes?
A major change in footwear can have a definite impact on your orthotics. If you are making a change to the style of shoe you are predominantly wearing, and moving from running shoes to dress shoes, then your orthotics may need to be adjusted or renewed.
A general rule of thumb is that when you put the orthotic in the new shoe and it feels drastically different from your current shoe, then your orthotics may not be fitting properly in the shoe and need to be adjusted.
In the end, the solution may be as simple as ensuring that the orthotic fits properly within your new shoe. However, it can also be more complicated, depending on the situation. If you have any concerns regarding fit please contact our team and we’d be happy to help.
Do you have multiple pairs of orthotics?
Some people will choose to use multiple pairs of orthotics to work in different types of shoes. These different pairs can also be adapted for different types of footwear, including running shoes, hiking boots, dress shoes, heels, sandals, etc. Multiple pairs can also help reduce the wear and tear that would be placed on one single pair of orthotics being moved from shoe to shoe.
If you have a lifestyle that involves frequent shoe changes, multiple orthotics can be a great option to consider. However, if you tend to use the same pair of shoes all the time, then it is probably unnecessary.
Have any other questions about whether you should change your orthotics? Contact us to book a review today and we are happy to work through them with you.