This is a great question and one that I get all of the time. Well, let’s look at why you got orthotics in the first place. Whatever foot problem you have that warrented getting orthotics, I can tell you that the cause was due to abnormal biomechanics of the foot.
What does this mean? It means, your foot bones and joints are not functioning at optimum levels and they are not staying in the proper alignment when you walk. If you wear glasses you will understand. Glasses help realign the eyes in order to allow you to see better. Once you remove the glasses, your poor vision is once again back. Since you immediately know you cannot see, you put your glasses back on immediately.
Well, the effects are not quite dramatic when it comes to your feet and your orthotics. If you were suffering from heel pain, and then decided not to wear the orthotics anymore, it is just a matter of time before this pain recurs. Why? What caused this pain to begin with?
With heel pain, the foot will overpronate during your gait. This means the heel part of the foot is turning outward, causing the arch to collapse. This causes the ligament under the heel bone to constantly be under tension. A custom orthotic will prevent the foot from turning outward. It will make sure the foot bones and joints stay aligned, which in turn relaxes this ligament.
At Family Foot & Ankle Specialists in central NJ, we check our patient’s orthotics every six months. We check the fit and we make sure the orthotics are still functioning properly and are in good condition. If the orthotic is not stable, it will alter your gait, and your original problem might recur. So, at that visit, we can make simple corrections and adjustments to make the device last longer. Most custom orthotics last between 3-5 years.
If you invested in these devices, it is then best to continue using them, unless you want your pain to come back. Remember what your grandmother taught you. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.