The answer to this will depend on the patient. Some patients will need to consider wearing the orthotic for the rest of their lives, or at least for many years.
For example, there is evidence that flat feet can worsen spinal degeneration, and custom orthotics are the leading preventative treatment for those with flat feet. Some patients will also be able to go for a few years, or even less, with the orthotic, and then they can stop wearing it.
Will I Have to Wear Orthotics Forever?
The answer to this question will depend on the user and the reason that they need to wear them. Some patients will need to have some kind of orthotic in place forever to correct an issue. Others will be fine wearing them on occasion and then taking them off after a few years.
Some patients will find that they have a foot type that will place so much stress on the ligaments and tendons that they will need to keep getting new orthotics every few years to ensure that their foot is safe and will not cause more damage to the foot at all. Others may just have it as a temporary fix until the foot could handle the change on its own.
In addition, there are a few patients who may only need to work with orthotics to help allow the tissue of the foot to heal. Once that happens, they will have a few choices. They can decrease the load they carry on the tissue, or they can work to improve how well the tissue of the foot can handle the load.
If they work to decrease the load that is placed on the tissue, some of the steps they can use include
- Decrease the activity that tends to cause them the most pain.
- Lose weight
- Continue to wear the orthotic
If the patient chooses to improve how well the tissue of the foot and ankle can handle the load, there are a few steps that they can do as well. These include
- Weight loss
- Doing exercises that will help to strengthen the feet
- Improved training techniques to make the ligaments and tendons a bit stronger.
Who Needs to Wear Orthotics Permanently?
There are some situations where the patient may need to wear a pair of orthotics for the long term. When they have a severe problem with the foot, such as a severely flat foot, they may need to keep the orthotic in place to ensure that there is no injury to those structures and that the feet will stay safe and prevent long-term damage.
For those who have severe functional issues of feet, it is a good idea o see your pair of orthotics similar to a pair of eyeglasses. If you get a pair of eyeglasses, it is unlikely you will reach a point where you no longer need them, at least without surgery. The same is true when you have a severe problem with your feet and use orthotics to help with it.
A patient who has a severe biomechanical problem in the foot is going to have a prescription for custom orthotics to help relieve some of the pain that they feel from that foot condition. Even when the orthotics do their job and help you feel better, there is a remaining underlying condition and it will likely come back the second you stop using the orthotics.
Who Can Use Orthotics for the Short or Medium Term?
However, not everyone will need to wear orthotics all the time or for the rest of their lives. Patients who have a foot injury and need to wear the orthotic to help during the healing or to reduce some of the stress that is placed on a particular part of the foot will be able to just wear the orthotic for a short amount of time.
Maybe the patient spent some time training for a marathon and ends up having an injury to the tendon of the foot. They may be able to function with the foot fairly well, but they want to keep training and do so without causing a big injury to the foot along the way.
It is possible to use the orthotic well to reduce some of the tension that shows up on the tendon, giving it time to heal while the patient is still able to train and use the foot. Once the tendon has had time to properly heal, then you can work to strengthen the foot so that the patient can slowly stop using the orthotic as well.
How Long Will I Have to Wear My Orthotics?
Many patients will want to know how long they will need to wear the orthotic and when they can finally take it off. This is often a discussion to have with your doctor because they will know your medical case the best. Some people will only need the orthotics for a short amount of time while others may need them for many years.
The amount of time you will need to wear the orthotics can depend on several factors. These include
- The exact injury you are facing
- How active you are and how that will aggravate the injury
- How dedicated you can be to the prescribed strengthening program
- The biomechanics of your foot and your own unique body
- The activities you like to participate in.
- The progress made each time you see your doctor for an exam.
In general, most patients are going to have normal foot biomechanics and will be dedicated to following the program to get the foot back to normal in no time. They may need to wear the orthotic for three to twelve months to get the best results. Your doctor will. Let me know whether you are on track with this or if some adjustments need to be made.
Choosing Orthotics to Keep Your Feet Happy for a Lifetime
There are many reasons a patient would choose to get a pair of orthotics to help their feet. Overall, these orthotics can help prevent injury, provide some good support, and fight off some of the foot pain you need to handle as well. A custom orthotic is often the best solution to help get this done, no matter how long you choose to wear it.
Our team will be able to work with you to create the perfect custom orthotic for all of your needs. We can help you design a great orthotic meant to last, giving you a high-quality medical device that will fight off the aches and pains and keep the foot feeling great. Visit our website today and see why purchasing custom orthotics is a great idea.