Quite often people focus so much on preparing for the arrival and fitting of their orthotic device that they fail to consider its proper care. One of the most important aspects of orthotic success is its condition, which depends on proper care to ensure the quality of the device remains intact so that you receive the best results.
For orthotics designed for the foot, a simple mixture of mild soap and warm water will safely clean away dirt and grime. For intermittent spot cleaning, you can use baby wipes or cleaning wipes that don’t have a lot of chemicals which could potentially delaminate the device. Alcohol or antibacterial wipes can be used for hard plastic foot orthotics for quick removal of bacteria and other buildup. Remember to wipe your device clean rather than submerging it into cleaning fluids, this will prevent unnecessary damage from occurring.
Ankle Foot Orthotics
How you clean your ankle foot orthotic depends on the type of material of which it is made. Leather devices are best cleaned with leather polish or cleaner that is specifically made to be gentle. Any petroleum based cleaners should be avoided when cleaning leather orthotics as they can stain and damage the leather over time.
Carbon fiber and hard plastic ankle foot orthotics can be cleaned using alcohol wipes or antibacterial solutions. The key in cleaning these types of devices is to make sure your orthotic is completely dry before wearing it, otherwise you could develop skin irritations and discomfort. To maintain the integrity of any pads on the orthotic should be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution but never soaked.
Knee Ankle Foot Orthotics
For these devices, follow the same general cleaning routines as ankle foot orthotics. However, keep in mind that there are typically more metal components in this type of orthotic which may be prone to rust development. Many knee ankle foot orthotics are made of titanium and aluminum which do not rust like steel does, but if your device has steel components, rust and corrosion is something to keep in consideration when you clean it.
Thoughtful Maintenance Ensures Long Lasting Quality
Remember, your orthotic device will continue to meet your needs with proper care. Keeping your device clean will keep your skin healthy and the device in correct working order, ultimately providing the support you need without any issues. It is important to consult your orthotic and prosthetic provider for proper cleaning instructions of your specific device.