Are Orthotics Good for Athletes?

Being an athlete or working out on a regular basis creates unforeseen  problems with your feet when the foot is not being supported within the shoe. These stresses on the foot can be alleviated often with use of a custom orthotic. There are two different types of orthotics: over the counter orthotics and custom made orthotics. The difference between  the two is the durability and cushion of the orthotics, as well as how the orthotic is made.

Certain athletes use orthotics for specific reasons in diverse sports:

1. Runners and joggers wear orthotics to absorb shock at heel contact, provide control and set up the forefoot for push-off.

2. Sprinters wear orthotics to control the movement of the forefoot.

3. Cyclists have a limited need for orthotics and wear them primarily to control the internal and external  rotation of the lower leg.

4. Skiers wear orthotics to stabilize the foot in neutral and inhibit mortion within the ski boot.

5. Tennis players wear orthotics to provide lateral support, decrease shear factors , absorb shock (especially in the fore foot) and allow subtalar joint motion.

6. Basketball players wear orthotics to control the forefoot during jumping and running.”

Types of Orthotics

Rigid orthotics are designed to control function and are usually composed of a firm material such as plastic or carbon fiber. These inserts are used primarily for walking or dress shoes. Your podiatrist will take a plaster cast or image of your foot to make a mold for your custom orthotic. These orthotics are best for controlling motion in two major foot joints that lie directly below the ankle joint and may improve or eliminate strains, aches, and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.

Soft orthotics are designed to absorb shock, increase balance, and relieve pressure from uncomfortable or sore spots. Typically made up of soft, cushy materials, soft orthotics are worn against the sole of your foot, fitting  from the heel past the ball of the foot, including the toes. These orthotics are also made from a mold after your podiatrist takes a plaster cast or other kind of image of your foot. Soft orthotics are most effective for diabetic, arthritic, and deformed feet.

Semi-rigid orthotics provide foot balance for walking or participating in sports. These are made up of layers of soft material, reinforced with rigid materials.

Over-the-counter orthotics or shoe inserts may help people with mild symptoms, however, they normally cannot correct the same range of issues like  prescription foot orthoses. Your podiatrist will make custom orthotics to fit your feet.

Orthotics help support the arches, knees, hips, and back. If you are an athlete and are having problems while you exercise, the problem could be your feet! Make sure you have a foot & ankle specialist like the podiatrists at Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists check out your feet. They can recommend the best treatment for you and create custom orthotics for you! Give us a call at 704-861-0425 to schedule an appointment today!

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054