The Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) pursues a broad physics program at Fermilab's Tevatron collider. Between Run II commissioning in early 2001 and the end of operations in September 2011, the Tevatron delivered 12 fb-1 of integrated luminosity of pp̄ collisions at s=1.96TeV. The physics at CDF includes precise measurements of the masses of the top quark and W boson, measurement of CP violation and Bs mixing, and searches for Higgs bosons and new physics signatures, all of which require heavy flavor tagging with large charged particle tracking acceptance. To realize these goals, in 2001 CDF installed eight layers of silicon microstrip detectors around its interaction region. These detectors were designed for 2-5 years of operation, radiation doses up to 2 Mrad (0.02 Gy), and were expected to be replaced in 2004. The sensors were not replaced, and the Tevatron run was extended for several years beyond its design, exposing the sensors and electronics to much higher radiation doses than anticipated. In this paper we describe the operational challenges encountered over the past 10 years of running the CDF silicon detectors, the preventive measures undertaken, and the improvements made along the way to ensure their optimal performance for collecting high quality physics data. In addition, we describe the quantities and methods used to monitor radiation damage in the sensors for optimal performance and summarize the detector performance quantities important to CDF's physics program, including vertex resolution, heavy flavor tagging, and silicon vertex trigger performance. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.