Foot orthotics help to restore the normal anatomy of the foot and they provide comfort and appropriate support to your ankles, knees, hips and back. Many people interchange the same pair of foot orthotics between dress shoes and tennis shoes, and can use the same pair for years. So, how do you know when it’s time to get a new pair of foot orthotics?

Check for any visible cracks, peeling, rubbing or thinning of the material especially near the toe and heel portions of your inserts periodically. Many orthotics are made of a rigid plastic material, formed to the shape of your foot and have a lifetime of about 4-5 years. Often, a soft top cover can be glued to the plastic for added comfort and can wear out quicker than the rigid plastic and can be easily replaced. Other types of orthotics can be made from softer materials, such as foam or cork can thin out or “pack down” more quickly, and require more frequent replacement typically lasting one to three years.

Your activity level can also determine the lifespan of your orthotics. The higher your activity level, the more frequently you may need to replace them.

Other factors can also contribute to an orthotic needing replacement. For instance, some women will notice the change in their mechanics and feet during and after pregnancy. Joint replacements, surgeries, and significant weight gain or loss can also affect they way you walk and may require an evaluation for a new pair of foot orthotics.

Always let pain be your guide. If you are experiencing new or increased pain in your feet, ankles, knees or lower back while wearing your orthotic inserts, contact your orthotist or pedorthist immediately.