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The Key to Better Running Could Be Right Under Your Feet

Today we hear from OrthoCarolina Orthotics Provider Grace Turner. She works with the OrthoCarolina Foot & Ankle Institute to fit people with the right orthotics to meet their lifestyle and athletic needs. Many runners can benefit from orthotics because they can help correct alignment issues that start to become an issue as the miles add up.

How Orthotics Can Make Runners’ Feet Happier

Your feet have a direct impact on the rest of your body. Like the foundation of a house, your feet support the weight of everything above them. When a small problem develops in your feet, the subtle changes in the way you walk will cause a chain reaction of adjustments in your posture and walking mechanics. These changes can put stress on joints higher up in your body, and lead to more serious problems such as foot pain, knee pain, hip pain and lower back pain.

In runners, the repetitive motion over long periods of time can create havoc on the feet if proper alignment and shock absorption are not optimal. Some of the most common running injuries/conditions we see and treat with custom orthotics are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Chondromalacia (Runner’s Knee)
  • Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)
  • Metatarsalgia

Custom Orthotics realign the foot by correcting abnormal or irregular walking patterns.  They alter the angles at which the foot contacts the ground when in motion.  They can take on many forms and be constructed of various materials.  In the end they share the same goal – to improve foot function, minimize stress related forces, and provide adequate shock absorption.

There are 3 general types of orthotics used today:

1) Rigid Orthotic

This type of orthotic is designed for maximum functional control with little to no shock absorption.  This type of orthotic limits the ability of the muscles and tendons to collapse through the gait cycle blocking the natural motion of the foot.

2) Accomodative Orthotic

This type of orthotic is designed to cushion and relieve pressure from sore or uncomfortable spots of the foot.  While it does provide the most shock absorption for the foot, it is generally replaced quite often and offers the least amount of support for the muscles and tendons of the foot.

3) SemiRigid Orthotic

This type of orthotic is designed for moderate function control.  I see this as the most ideal orthotic for a runner.  It acts as a guide for the foot while allowing the muscles and tendons to perform more efficiently causing less wear and tear on the body.

I often tell my clients that your feet are your best form of transportation.  They get you to the car, the plane, the bus, and the train.  They are constantly absorbing forces generated from our body weight and gravity.  If they are not in proper alignment, they will become overwhelmed by the constant stress resulting in foot pain or injury.

Grace Turner is the Clinic Director for Performance Orthotics . You do not need a referral to receive a free foot evaluation. For more information call   (704) 945-7790.