Orthotic shoe inserts improve foot and ankle alignment so you can run, walk, and stand with greater comfort and efficiency. Often these inserts help correct abnormal gait or treat a variety of foot conditions like high arches, flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints.
Did you know that orthotics are more than a clinical tool or for rehabilitative use after foot surgery? You can fit custom sports orthotics inside most athletic shoes to help improve your athletic performance in a range of settings. Take a look at these four amazing ways orthotics can increase performance at the court, on the field, and in the gym.
1. Help Prevent Injuries
Most athletes know the risks for injury as they engage in sports. High-speed movements and impacts can cause a range of injuries, but overuse is often the reason a player feels pain. Overuse injures happen when you push your body beyond its abilities, don't allow your body time to adjust to new movements, or fail to warm up properly.
Athletes can help prevent overuse injuries with smarter training techniques along with proper foot and ankle support. Sport orthotics add greater stability during maneuvers and can lessen ankle pain if you tend to overpronate or underpronate, or experience outward or inward foot lean. The right shock-absorbing orthotics can also give you enough support to help prevent shin splints as you run.
2. Facilitate Post-Injury Returns
Sometimes even the best athletes experience an injury. Tendons tear because of long-term repetition or bones break after a traumatic impact. The return to sports after an injury takes time and involves physical therapy and patience. When you get back to practice or exercise, however, you may benefit from sports orthotics as part of your recovery.
Sports orthotics can assist you in your return to play because they provide the targeted support necessary to perform without aggravating that injury. For example, a healing plantar fasciitis needs custom support to prevent an arch from dropping painfully out of position. You may be surprised how your performance can improve with orthotics when you return after an injury.
3. Improve Gait
Gait refers to the way you walk, but it also applies to how you run. The alignment or positioning of your feet and ankles influences your gait. Even slightly misaligned lower extremities can force you to propel or run differently, and attempts to compensate can affect your speed and performance.
Orthotics improves the positioning of feet and lower legs as you walk and run. Proper support absorbs the shock of your heel that strikes the ground and then helps push your foot off to propel. This support gives your legs the ability to move faster and more efficiently. Whether you have a slight misalignment or not, orthotics can give you an edge with regards to your gait.
4. Help Form and Fatigue
Whether you run long-distance or rely more on strength and speed over a shorter period of time, an important component of athletic endurance involves how you deal with fatigue. Becoming tired during your sport is common, but be careful how your fatigue affects your form. You may inadvertently slip into poor form and suffer stressed muscles and joints within your feet, ankles, and legs.
Orthotics can assist with better alignment as you perform, even while you experience fatigue. Consistent support allows you to maintain better form and, as a result, you are less likely to feel fatigued. In this way, orthotics can increase your endurance as you play because you maintain good form and feel less tired.
Remember, sports orthotics must be custom fit to your feet and not purchased as a one-size-fits-all. General orthotics may not pinpoint problem areas unique to your own feet. The best way for a fit designed to give you better performance is with a professional. Ankle & Foot Clinic of Everett offers sports orthotics tailored to your own feet and athletic needs.