How Often Do Orthotics Need Replacing?

Most of Us Love Our Orthotics

So you had an injury or some type of pain and your podiatrist diagnosed your condition and custom foot orthotics were part of the treatment plan they designed for you.

For most people the orthotics are very effective and the pain will usually settle over a period of time up to 13 weeks.

You end up wearing them nearly all day everyday that you’re at work or school and you’ve come to rely on them for comfort, so how do you know when they need to be replaced. 

Depending on your health cover they can be quite expensive, so you don’t want to be replacing them all the time.

In this article I’ll explain when they should be reviewed and when they need to be replaced, and how to tell when they don’t need replacing.

Normal Review Period is 12 Months

As a general rule we ask you to come in and get your orthotics reviewed every 12 months.

This is because we know that everyone will wear their orthotics out at different rates and we want to make sure that they are still working their best for you.

What Does a Worn Out Orthotic Look Like?

When you come in for an orthotic review the first thing we will do is watch you walk in them.

  • Gait – We know that a bad orthotic can tip you either in or out and this will show up quite obviously in gait
  • Condition – The next thing we look at is the general condition of the orthotics. Some people will wear right through the covers of their orthotics so that there is a hole in the heel and a hole under the big toe joint. 
    This kind of wear may look cosmetic but it can actually cause issues like corns, or blisters which will really change your gait,
  • Foot Skin – We also have a look at the skin on your feet to see if there are any areas that show signs of rubbing or irritation. As mentioned above this can be caused by the condition of the top covers.
A man from the knees down from behind with an over supinated (turned out) foot on the right

The Shoes  – we look at these first, because no matter how good the orthotics are, if the shoes are rubbish, then the orthotics don’t stand a chance of getting the results that we are after. Some shoes which are “anti-pronatory” will be very firm on the medial (inside) of the shoe, and very soft on the lateral (outside). This works okay for a while, but once they start to wear out the lateral side can totally collapse, causing the foot to tip way out. 
So we make sure that the shoes are an appropriate style for you, and that they aren’t tipping you in or out.

  • Structure – Then we look at the structure of the orthotics themselves. There are certain places where orthotics are most likely to wear out and they are just in front of the heel cup where the medial (inside) of your foot places a lot of pressure if you are a heavy pronator. The material will withstand a lot of punishment, but eventually it will weaken and need replacing.

Here's an Extreme Case of Worn Out Orthotics!

These are by permission of one of our clients, they are extremely worn out, as you can see!

A pair of very worn out orthotics with lots of bits missing

When do your running shoes need replacing? read our blog here.

What to Do At Home

The first thing to do before getting your orthotics checked is to check your shoes.

If you’ve had your shoes for more than 12-18 months, or 1000km for runners, then it’s probably time to replace them.

Make sure to take your orthotics with you to the shoes store so that you can make sure that the whole combination works well.

Another test you can do is stand in your orthotics and shoes and get someone to take a photo of you from behind, if you can clearly see that you are tipping in, or tipping out, then you definitely need new orthotics, new shoes, or both. 

If you look like the right foot in the photo above, then either your shoes or orthotics are in need of review.

The Dynamic Podiatry Team. 3 ladies and 2 men.

If your orthotics are due for a review call 3351 8878 or book online by clicking the button below and we’ll get you walking right again.

The Dynamic Podiatry logo orange and navy with a foot in the "D"