You’re a runner, and you love keeping fit. Or you were a runner, but the pain stopped you. Your chiropractor or other medical practitioner gave you an orthotics for running because your back was sore. You slipped your orthosis into your very smart, custom shoes and off you chugged. And after while it all went pear-shaped.
Yes, that was the wrong orthotic, and it was given to you by a non-podiatrist. You will have knee pain, ankle pain or perhaps worse back pain by now.
This is because the orthotics have not solved the core issue, i.e. the biomechanical alignment. Whenever you are doing a sport, you will be putting pressure on any biomechanical misalignment that exists.
Let’s take a few steps back.
What Is An Orthotic?
It is a tool that supports and/or re-aligns or prevents distortions and/or improves the use of your muscles and skeleton. In this description, even an inner sole from your local pharmacy can be called an orthotic.
When a podiatrist is speaking of orthotics, we are referring to HIGHLY specialised tools. And this highly specialised tool but be used in an exact manner or it will cause damage.
All foot supports have specific roles for specific scenarios.
What Options Are There?
Shoe inlays – These are shock-absorbing inserts for shoes that either absorb shock or adjust the way the load is disbursed over the foot surface. They are flat, cut to size, soft, flexible materials. If you have a bruised or irritated foot, these will help you.
Arch supports – There are a lot of over the counter options in this category. They are mostly flexible and are a general size per shoe size. With enough support under the arch, pronation is lessened. A foot with a mild misshape can bring on foot, lower leg or back issues. An arch support would help. However, it might not help and might cause other issues.
What Is A Running Orthotic Or Custom Shoes Orthotic?
The term orthotics are used in Podiatry and by Sports Physicians to mean something that is custom made. For a runner, it would be running orthotics, and if you have customised shoes, it would be custom shoe orthotics. It is made in a multi-step way which includes observed running on a treadmill and the very important step of taking an impression and cast of your foot. This is then carefully adjusted to the point of achieving perfect alignment of the skeleton.
This first device is used for up to 4 weeks as a test to make sure it is spot on.
The casting is done with you lying down to create neutral foot positions. If you are asked to step into a box mould, then leave and don’t look back. That is incorrect.
Your leg dimensions are noted, and your gait and the total package of information creates a tool with a four to seven-year lifespan.
Runners should be prescribed full-length orthotics, thereby giving much more stabilisation and integrated control to the forefoot. Flexibility is also good for runners, or else heel bruising can occur. For example, a leather orthotic will be durable, comfortable and effective.
For hiking and walking it is suitable to use a half orthotic. This would end in the mid-arch area. They are not for running.
How Long Should They Be Used For?
How long will you be active? That is your answer. The second you stop using them, you will go back to the lousy foot position, and your pain will return. Currently, there is no operation to correct pronation.
Just because you have pronation does not mean you need an orthotic. If you are in pain and your podiatrist and/or sports physician link it to foot position, then an orthotic is the way you should go.
Are you interested in custom orthoses and, specifically, custom foot orthosis by a professional? Free Your Feet Hills podiatry service specialists provide expertly made custom orthotics freeing you from further pain and discomfort. Contact us today!