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Surgical footwear

Patient information A-Z

Your footwear has been prescribed for you and it is intended for your use only. Surgical footwear is prescribed to support and protect your feet. To get the best from your footwear treat them with care - following the advice given below.


When you are supplied with a new pair of shoes, break them in gradually, even if you have been supplied with surgical footwear in the past. Your orthotist will recommend a wearing in regime that is appropriate for you.

Wearing time:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

You should always wear socks or a stocking when you are wearing your footwear.

In the first few weeks, check your feet regularly to ensure the footwear is not rubbing or causing a blister. If you notice any problems stop wearing the footwear immediately and contact the orthotics department for a review appointment.


Care of uppers

  • Leather – Clean with a damp cloth to remove all dirt and stains (do not saturate). When dry apply a wax/ polish to your footwear to improve water resistance and to keep the leather supple. This should be done regularly to keep the leather in good condition.
  • Nubuck and suede – Remove dirt and stains as per leather uppers. When dry, rub down with a brass suede brush or use a nubuck/ suede cleaning spray.
  • Neoprene – Clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt and stains only.

Resoling and heeling

The soles and heels of your footwear will wear down. We recommend you check your footwear regularly for wear on sole and heels and keep on top of repairs to maintain longevity of the footwear. You should arrange and pay for these repairs at your local cobbler.

If your footwear has any adaptations to the heel or sole unit they must be brought back to the department for repair. Any adaptations to your footwear should be discussed with you at the time of assessment and measuring of footwear by your orthotist. Adaptations could include:

  • sole and heel wedging
  • sole and/or heel flaring
  • rocker soles and shank stiffeners
  • raises or sockets for callipers

Your footwear has heel/ sole adaptations: Yes ☐ / No

Please ensure footwear is clean before bringing it to the department for repair. Footwear that is heavily soiled will not be accepted for repair and will be returned for cleaning before any repairs are carried out.


If you notice any sign of wear or damage to insoles, please contact the Orthotics Department for replacements.


If you experience any problems with your footwear, please contact the Orthotics Department and arrange an appointment with your orthotist for review. Do not just put the footwear to the back of the cupboard!

Remember when attending review appointments to bring your footwear (even if it is old) so the orthotist can check if there are any alterations required and whether the shoes can be repaired if necessary.

We recommend that you have your surgical shoes reviewed every 12 months to ensure that your prescription remains optimal. You should contact the Orthotics Department to arrange this appointment. In some cases your orthotist will recommend more frequent review appointments and will notify you of this.


The department’s policy is to supply and maintain two pairs of footwear at any one time.

When your first pair of footwear is supplied, your orthotist will arrange an appointment for review. A second pair of shoes will only be ordered once you are completely happy with the first pair. At this time you may wish to discuss minor changes, such as style/ colour.

Contact information

The contact details for the department are:

Addenbrookes Rehabilitation Clinic (Clinic 9)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Box 120, Addenbrooke's Hospital
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ

01223 217859

If you are from outside the Cambridge area and wish to receive future orthotic treatment from a more local service you should contact your GP.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151