T4 Physio

Should Runners Wear Orthotics?

The ideal running pattern can be elusive. Most of us under pronate or overpronate slightly, meaning that when our heels strike the ground, the foot either turns too much or not enough.

And even for runners who enjoy that perfect running pattern, the amount of force your feet absorb during this high-impact activity is pretty incredible. It is estimated that for someone who weighs 150 pounds, the foot experiences forces four to seven times that weight: the equivalent of up to 1,000 pounds.

Orthotics can be tremendously helpful to runners, with or without the perfect running pattern, by helping the foot and lower body stay in alignment, helping the plantar fascia absorb impact, and cushioning the foot while running on hard surfaces.

High-End Running Shoes vs. Orthotics

While there’s no doubt that the shoes you wear are very important to the health of your feet, you don’t need to break the bank to get a good fit and proper support.

Many mid-range and budget running shoes offer excellent fit, comfort, heel and ankle support, and proper support–which can lead to the assumption that with ever-improving technology and quality in running shoes, orthotics don’t have much to add to the equation. However, most of the cushioning and support you’ll find in your running shoes is designed for proper fit and comfort–not arch support.

Custom-made Orthotic inserts are a lightweight solution that empowers almost any pair of running shoes with proper support, stability, and impact absorption.  Our Custom orthotics are made by creating a 3D scan of your foot. That means that they are going to fit you perfectly. You could purchase the most expensive pair of shoes in the world, but unless they are made specifically for your feet, you will eventually experience pain when running. Trainers are made to conform to the shape of everyone’s foot, which is why they don’t offer ample support.

Benefits of Running with Orthotics

The benefits to running with orthotic inserts–even if you’re not currently experiencing heel pain or foot pain–are substantial:

  • Improve excessive pronation and gait abnormalities: If you pronate while you run, meaning your feet collapse inward, the consequences on your knees can be dire. Pronation also increases your chances of developing plantar fasciitis and stress fractures. Orthotics can correct this gait imbalance.
  • Alignment: Orthotics have the ability to stabilize and improve alignment throughout the body, not just in your feet. When your feet are properly aligned as they strike the ground, it helps the rest of your lower body including legs, hips, and back, work in proper alignment.
  • Posture: If you’re a runner, your gait and alignment don’t just have an impact while you run. Your posture–which can positively or negatively impact aches and strain to the rest of your body–is directly tied to a healthy gait and alignment.
  • Preventative care: Orthotics help stave off a whole host of problems by supporting your plantar fascia and other muscles and ligaments in the feet. These conditions include plantar fasciitis, shin splints, blisters, hammer toe, and tendonitis.

Whether your goal is to head off plantar fasciitis and other heel and foot problems, improve your gait or posture, or help your body stay in proper alignment with each mile, orthotics are a terrific way to reduce the amount of impact and strain your body undergoes during a run or a jog.  Runners of all speeds, abilities, and ages choose to wear orthotics each time they pound the pavement to protect some of their most important assets: their feet and heels.

At T4 Physio, we would like to invite you to a free consultation to find out more about orthotics so you can decide for yourself whether they would be right for you.

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