Sports & Orthotics
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the average person has 75,000 miles on his or her feet by age 50. However, athletes are often two to three times more active than others and may therefore reach this milestone much sooner. In addition, your feet carry hundreds of pounds of weight, each day, making you susceptible to a number of injuries.
Athletes must take extra precautions to protect their feet. One of the best ways to do that is through the use of orthotics. What are some advantages of orthopedic insoles for athletes? We’ll discuss the benefits below.
Each foot contains 26 bones, 107 ligaments, 30 joints, and 19 muscles. When any of these are out of alignment, you face a heightened risk of injury. Orthotics ensure good biomechanics to prevent issues such as fallen arches, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and ankle pain.
Poor foot alignment may also lead to other misalignments in the body as well. Consequently, this makes you more susceptible to hip, knee, or back issues. So by aligning the feet, you could actually be preventing a number of other injuries. In fact, orthotics are often recommended for anyone suffering from shin splints or patellofemoral pain syndrome, even if there are no foot problems.
Ensuring Proper Gait
When feet are misaligned, you are more likely to experience problems with your gait. In particular, you may notice a condition known as over-pronation whenever you walk or run. This occurs when the arch of your foot collapses, causing your ankle to turn inward. Over-pronation is a leading cause of bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia.
Long-distance runners are most often affected by an abnormal gait. Even so, you could notice gait problems if you are a basketball, softball, volleyball, or tennis player. Orthotics can correct problems related to an abnormal gait such as over-pronation. They may even take the pressure off of your hips and lower back that is caused by an improper gait.
As mentioned, your feet must hold an incredible amount of weight each day. Strenuous physical activity can add to the already heavy burden your soles are under. That’s why you are more likely to have tired feet after hiking, climbing, jumping, or running.
Orthotics provide support for the arch, heel, and ball of your foot, making it less likely you will experience fatigue. Their shock-absorbing features also help your foot absorb the impact from repeated contact with hard surfaces. As a result, you may be able to run longer distances or participate in activities such as basketball for extended periods.
Assists with Recovery
Any athlete can benefit from shoe inserts; however, they become even more important when you are recovering from an injury. By allowing for proper alignment, orthopedic insoles help spur the healing process. Orthotics will also protect your foot so that you are less likely to experience a subsequent injury.
It’s difficult to bounce back when you have sore, tender feet. This is another way in which orthotics can help. By offering some cushioning, it’s possible for you to begin training much sooner following an injury. As such, you will not have to worry about losing your conditioning just because you are experiencing foot problems.
Good alignment, proper gait, and shock absorption all work together to improve your performance. After wearing orthopedic inserts, you may notice that you are able to run faster, jump higher, and work out for longer periods of time than before. And you will probably be able to do so without becoming fatigued.
Even cyclists could benefit from having orthotics. Excessive pedaling can result in collapsed arches, which in turn might cause knee pain. Correcting these issues could therefore greatly increase your speed and endurance.
Golfers rely on good posture and balance to help them perfect their swings. Aligning the feet is another way in which orthotics can help improve your game. Not only that, but it will make walking and standing on the golf course more pleasant as well.
Soccer, baseball, and football cleats often provide little support for the feet. Adding orthotics is a great way to prevent fallen arches, sprained ankles, and shin injuries.
Choosing Custom Orthotics
Correctly fitting orthotics will vary based upon the sport or physical activity you are participating in. In general, they should provide heel and arch support as well as a great deal of shock absorption. Medial support and heel stability are both very important if you need to correct gait issues such as over-pronation.
Even the best orthotics will eventually wear down. Accordingly, you should count on replacing yours at least once a year or so. You may need to replace them more often if you are very active or experience a condition that causes your feet to swell. Female athletes who are expecting could also need a different set of orthotics to wear while they are pregnant.
An Important Part in your Training
From preventing injuries to improving performance, orthopedic insoles play an important role in your training regimen. If you are not yet wearing inserts, you have plenty of reasons to consider them. Your feet have carried you this far-choose the right orthotics to ensure they can continue to do so.