We know that no two feet are alike and every problem requires a custom solution. That’s why we craft every orthotic to address each individual’s need.
Since 1964, we’ve helped over a million people suffering from foot pain to lead better, pain-free lives.
MAXIMIZE YOUR BENEFITS
Foot orthotics, like eyeglasses, only work when you use them. Orthotics don’t permanently change the structures of your foot but help realign its joints to improve both posture and function. Continuous use of your orthotics can improve function, control pain and lessen fatigue.
Be sure your shoes are up to the task of maximizing the benefit you’ll experience from your orthotics.
- •Have foam inserts that are removable. Remove this thin, flat piece of foam from your shoes before inserting your orthotics.
- •Fit snuggly, but not tightly, around the sides and top of your foot.
- •Be free of excessive wear, particularly in the heel.
The function and performance of orthotics can be significantly impacted by the quality of the shoes they’ll be partnered with.
We suggest wearing your new orthotics for two hours the first day and gradually increasing the daily wear time in two-hour increments until you can use them all day. If your healthcare professional recommends a different procedure, follow their instructions.
Avoid excessive initial use of your orthotics as you may experience isolated muscle cramps or joint pain anywhere from the tips of your toes to your hips.
THE RIGHT ORTHOTICS
Your healthcare professional has prescribed your orthotics to match your activities, lifestyle and unique foot structure. Everyday users and casual athletes may be able to use the same orthotics in both casual and athletic shoes. Runners and other serious athletes may require orthotics made specifically for their chosen activity.
As you become comfortable with your orthotics, you may decide having additional pairs is beneficial. A second pair can lessen the need to move your orthotics between shoes and ensure you have the right orthotics for your favorite activity. Further, with additional pairs of orthotics, the specifications of each pair can vary to match how they’ll be used.
For example, orthotics for athletics may include a neoprene top cover for maximum shock absorption and a deeper heel cup for increased stability, while orthotics for casual shoes may have a narrower design and less cushion to fit better in lower-profile shoes.
How long do orthotics last?
The expected life of an orthotic can vary greatly from patient to patient depending on foot structure, type of activities and style of orthotic. New orthotics may be needed after one or two years but may not be necessary for five years or more. It’s wise to visit your healthcare professional on a regular basis because they will assess your foot, your orthotics and other variables to determine when to replace your orthotics.
How do I keep my orthotics from squeaking?
Occasionally orthotics will squeak, especially if worn in leather dress shoes. If this happens, simply remove the orthotics from your shoes, sprinkle in talcum, anti-fungal or baby powder and reinsert your orthotics. The squeak should be gone.
Why are my orthotics firm instead of soft?
The purpose of a foot orthotic is to help improve the mechanical function of the foot, align the entire skeleton and distribute pressure. Overly soft orthotics or insoles lacking a firm foundation may feel good initially, but the gratification quickly subsides without the proper support to hold the structure of the body in place. By helping to align the feet, our orthotics redistribute the body’s weight, taking stress off joints and muscles. The firm, custom-crafted shape of our orthotics provides support, balance and comfort that soft orthotics and insoles can’t achieve.
Where can I learn more about custom orthotics?
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) offers a number of solid resources to dive deeper into the world of custom orthotics and shoe inserts.
We understand that your Northwest Podiatric Laboratory custom orthotics are an important investment in your health and quality of life. As premium medial devices, we cover ever pair of custom orthotics with a generous warranty. Learn more about Northwest Podiatric Laboratory’s warranty.
Please contact your healthcare professional with questions. NWPL is unable to work directly with patients.
Protect your investment in foot pain relief with the Orthotic Care Program. With proper care and a bit of preventative maintenance you can greatly extend the life of your orthotics.
ORTHOTIC CARE PROGRAM
Remove your orthotics from your shoes and eliminate any foreign materials from the top and bottom surfaces. With the orthotics removed, shake out any loose debris from your shoes. Grit and grime can act like sandpaper and quickly compromise the integrity and function of your orthotics. If you engage in activities with a high likelihood of dirt or sand entering your shoes (e.g. hiking) or live in a sandy locale (e.g. beach area or desert), increase the frequency of this step accordingly.
Every four months
Remove your orthotics from your shoes and carefully inspect them for any damage or compromise of materials that goes beyond standard wear and tear. Gently handwash them with mild soap and lukewarm water.
- •The rigid shell/foundation component is very durable and can be cleaned vigorously. Be careful not to scrub the ID label on your orthotics too hard – the information on this label can be useful to you, your healthcare professional and Northwest Podiatric Laboratory in the future.
- •The commonly prescribed vinyl top cover (the portion that touches your foot) is quite robust and can be cleaned with a moderate amount of elbow grease.
- •The softer cushion, top cover and bottom cover materials require a bit of extra care – don’t scrub too hard!
Graphics or logos on the top surface of your orthotics will be damaged by overly forceful cleaning.
Allow your orthotics to fully air-dry (overnight is generally adequate) and put them back into your shoes.
Every six months
Inspect the interior and exterior of your shoes for excessive wear. Orthotics can cause slight damage to the interior of shoes as they “settle” into place. This is normal. Orthotics can only function to their full potential when paired with shoes that provide proper stability and support. Specifically, ensure the outsoles of your shoes aren’t excessively worn on the inside or outside edge in the heel area. Worn shoes can impact the precisely calibrated specifications of your custom orthotics. For runners or people who are on their feet all day, more frequent inspection and replacement may be necessary.
Pay special attention to how your orthotics are performing and consider visiting your healthcare professional for a professional assessment.
Questions to consider:
- •Are the pain or performance issues that prompted you to initially be prescribed orthotics still being addressed?
- •How do you feel with or without orthotics on a day-to-day basis or when involved in your favorite activities?
- •Has your weight or activity level increased or decreased since you first received your orthotics?
- •Have you noticed any changes to your feet due to aging? Feet change over time. By working with a healthcare professional to determine the effectiveness of your orthotics, changes that could help them perform even better or if a new pair is recommended you can maximize the potential benefits of your orthotics.
When wearing your orthotics, pay attention to any changes you notice. Is there a foreign object in your shoe? Is a component of your orthotic damaged or wearing out? Have your orthotics started squeaking? The sooner you can identify any potential issue, the sooner you can rectify it or contact your healthcare professional for further assistance.
- •Avoid wearing your orthotics when they’ll be wet or damp for long periods of time. Orthotics should not be worn in water shoes. Water, particularly saltwater, can negatively impact the adhesives used to construct your orthotics and may shorten their lifespan. Dry your orthotics by removing from your shoes and allowing them to air-dry overnight.
- •A clothes dryer should not be used to dry orthotics. The rigid components of the orthotics may damage the dryer. Further, excessive heat from the dryer may compromise the feel or function of the materials used to craft orthotics, including the adhesives used to construct the orthotics.
- •A washing machine or dishwasher should never be used to clean orthotics. Although crafted to be durable and provide years of use, the extreme temperatures, strong chemicals and forceful cleaning methods often utilized by washing machines and dishwashers can irreparably damage orthotics.
- •Your orthotics are tough, but extreme heat can cause permanent damage. Heat damage most frequently occurs when orthotics are left inside an enclosed vehicle in a hot climate. Beyond damaging the soft cushion and top cover components, extreme heat has the potential to deform the shell/foundation component, rendering orthotics compromised beyond repair.
- •Dogs love orthotics. If your dog loves chewing on shoes, they’ll love chewing on orthotics. Safely store your shoes so your favorite furry friend doesn’t damage (or destroy) your orthotics.
- •If you believe your orthotics need a tweak or change, please contact your healthcare professional. Your healthcare professional and NWPL are the custom orthotic experts and can make any needed adjustments quickly and effectively. Don’t compromise the function of your orthotics or void your warranty with a DIY orthotic modification.
CUSTOM ORTHOTICS MADE NEW AGAIN
Did you know you can maintain a like-new level of comfort and function throughout the life of your orthotics? We expertly refurbish nearly any custom foot orthotic (even if we aren’t the original manufacturer), utilizing only the finest materials and processes.
What Can be Refurbished?
Our custom foot orthotics generally consist of two main components: the rigid shell and the softer top cover/cushion. The rigid shell is designed to last for the useful life of your orthotics and can’t be refurbished. The top cover/cushion material may change over time due to wear and perspiration. These materials play an important role in the comfort and function of your orthotics and can be refurbished.
Warranty on Refurbished Orthotics
Upon refurbishment, top covers, cushions and accommodations are guaranteed for one year. Adjustments not made by Northwest Podiatric Laboratory void this guarantee. The orthotic shell is not protected by any additional warranty (outside of the two-year warranty against breakage from the date of original manufacture, NOT the date of refurbishment).
Refurbish or Replace?
Despite our ability to refurbish your orthotics to like new condition, healthcare professionals recommend you visit them on a regular basis to ensure your custom orthotics are fully serving your needs through decreased foot pain and increased function. Feet change with age, weight, activity level, etc. and your custom orthotics may need to change with them.
How Refurbishment Works
- Contact the healthcare professional who prescribed your orthotics or find one in your area who currently partners with us. Your healthcare professional will provide you with further instructions on how to proceed.
- Your orthotics will be shipped from your healthcare professional’s office to NWPL. Refurbishing orthotics requires five business days or less (at our laboratory). Processing at your healthcare professional’s office and shipping will add additional time.
- Upon receipt of your orthotics, our skilled craftspeople begin the process of refurbishing your orthotics to like-new condition.
- When complete, your newly refurbished orthotics will ship to your healthcare professional’s office.
- Your healthcare professional will bill you directly for the refurbishment. NWPL does not set the final cost of the refurbishment.
Enjoy the renewed comfort and function of your refurbished orthotics!
Please contact your healthcare professional’s office with questions or concerns – they’ll be happy to assist you. Northwest Podiatric Laboratory is unable to work directly with patients.
Not medical advice. For informational purposes only. Please contact a licensed healthcare professional with any questions or concerns.