Custom foot orthotics have a great track record in being able to treat the fundamental causes of foot pain. Your feet have problems, you see a physician and then a podiatrist. He then gives you a diagnosis and then a prescription for custom foot orthotics. After you wear them for a few years, you begin to notice that the bounce is no longer in the step and the cover is looking ragged. Even though they are very durable, they break down. After you lose that bounce, you begin wondering if they even worked in the first place.
Well, hold on now. If you’re hard on your shoes in general, then chances are good that you’re hard on your orthotics as well. Just goes to reason, right? But you may not need a brand new pair of orthotics that could set you back almost a half a grand.
You might just need to get the top covers replaced. It could be that simple.
Take a close look at your device (yes, we Pedorthists call them devices because, well, that’s what they are). Is the foundation of the insole still sound? Is there structural damage to the device? In other words, if the orthotic cracking in multiple places, they can be repaired or you could opt for a new pair. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, the chief disadvantage among them is cost. Repaired orthotics would be under $200 (closer to $130) and new orthotic devices are anywhere from $300 to $750 for high end devices for athletes. If the structural foundation is cracking, those are two of your options.
A good pedorthist can take your original cracked devices and nearly duplicate the originals. The problem is, your feet gets used to a certain material – plastic, for example – so it might reject a similar material. But just as it takes days or weeks to break in a new pair of shoes, so it does with orthotics as well.
If, however, the top cover is merely in tatters and giving you a fit because the material is bunching up under your feet, then you just may need a top cover replacement. Easy peasy. Replacement top covers might run you under $100 (and closer to $80). We would actually refresh the device with new material very similar (if not identical) to the old material. We get as close as we can based on your description of the material. Only the lab technician who made your custom orthotics would know for sure exactly what material your devices was made of. Since materials are getting better and more efficient, your older less efficient material may not be manufactured anymore. All that to say, we try to get the material as close as your originals. At the very least it will be as good as your old material and probably better.
Here are a few factors that you have to consider when thinking about orthotics:
Age of device. As the song says, “Time, keeps flowing like a river.” Orthotic devices get old too, though they don’t really flow like a river unless you see if they’ll float down the river. With 150 pounds or more stomping down on you, you’d age quickly too.
Materials. Not all materials are made alike. You can purchase devices that professional athletes wear. Those materials take a brutal pounding each day the pro is using them. They have to have great durability. They may not be the softest in the world, but they are structurally sound and durable.
Usage. How often will you be using them? Has your doctor prescribed them for daily usage or less?
Your lifestyle. This relates to the materials the device is made out of and usage. How will you use your devices? Will you be walking all day long or do you maintain a sedentary lifestyle? Just like a doctor would not prescribe a runner’s leg to a nursing home amputee, so needing ultra sturdy material for your orthotic just doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, you don’t want them to be so flimsy that they crack after a week so there is a balance.
Major medical events. If your body has gone through traumatic events, it could affect your feet, especially if the trauma directly affected the feet. You probably already know that because you’ve been to your physician, podiatrist, chiropractor, and a whole slew of other medical professionals because of what you’ve been through. Chances are good, that she’s already prescribed new devices and you’re wearing them already, which means you’re probably not even reading this right now. But if for some reason, your feet and back are not feeling the affects of that trauma, then the event still could have affected how well your orthotics fit and are working.
Disclaimer here. We are not licensed to practice medicine, so please consult your physician for advice on how well your devices are working.
So, do you need to replace your orthotic devices, repair them, or just refurbish the top cover? It all depends on how well your devices are holding up to the constant pounding your feet have been giving them.