When your doc­tor first rec­om­mends orthotics, it’s easy to assume they’ll become a per­ma­nent part of your wardrobe. How­ev­er, in many cas­es, you may want to wear them less over time or only dur­ing cer­tain activ­i­ties. In some cas­es, you may even stop wear­ing them alto­geth­er.

After all, orthotics come in a wide vari­ety of shapes and sizes. They also offer dif­fer­ent lev­els of sup­port for dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties. While some are meant to be worn around the clock, oth­ers you may only need to wear at cer­tain times of the day. Your chron­ic symp­toms and ongo­ing progress may also affect your ortho­pe­dic needs.

You may need to wear orthotics for a long time if you have seri­ous prob­lems that pre­vent you from doing your dai­ly activ­i­ties, such as flat feet. In this case, orthotics may pre­vent fur­ther injury or more severe symp­toms, but you may always need orthotics to cor­rect the prob­lem. These are ortho­pe­dic insoles.

You may need orthotics for the short to medi­um term if you have an injury that needs help to heal prop­er­ly. With­in a few months or a year, your mus­cles and ten­dons may ful­ly recov­er, allow­ing you to com­plete­ly stop wear­ing orthotics.

Instead of wear­ing orthotics when it’s com­fort­able or con­ve­nient, seek pro­fes­sion­al advice to find out what’s best for you. Talk to your podi­a­trist or phys­i­cal ther­a­pist to find out when you should wear braces and when they can be removed. Your health care provider may rec­om­mend that you wear orthotics for a cer­tain amount of time each day or when per­form­ing repet­i­tive or stren­u­ous activ­i­ties.

If your symp­toms have improved sig­nif­i­cant­ly, your health­care provider may also rec­om­mend that you grad­u­al­ly reduce your use of orthotics. For exam­ple, as your elbows or wrists get stronger, you may want to wear upper limb orthotics for less time each week or month.

What Hap­pens If You Don’t Wear Ortho­pe­dic Prod­ucts?

If your podi­a­trist pre­scribes orthot­ic aids, it is impor­tant to wear them as rec­om­mend­ed. If you don’t wear them as pre­scribed, you could aggra­vate any mus­cle or ten­don injuries. You may also expe­ri­ence relat­ed symp­toms such as back, leg, ankle, or elbow pain.

Although some patients wor­ry that orthotics can weak­en their mus­cles or ten­dons over time, there is no evi­dence that this belief is true. Instead, orthotics are designed to help your mus­cles and ten­dons get stronger and work more effi­cient­ly. Because this process takes time, it’s impor­tant to fol­low your care team’s advice for opti­mal results.

If you want to speed up the strength­en­ing process and stop wear­ing braces ear­li­er, talk to your podi­a­trist or phys­i­cal ther­a­pist.