By Christina DeBusk
When you engage your feet in the same motions or movements over and over again, you are at risk of getting a repetitive strain injury. And while the best remedy may be to stop the offending action altogether to give your foot time to heal, that isn’t always a viable option—especially if your injury is a result of the work you do or it involves a cardiovascular exercise that you truly enjoy.
Fortunately, foot orthotics can often help you deal with the pain associated with some of the most common repetitive strain injuries. Here are four of them to consider:
When you run, do you get shin splints? If so, this pain that you feel in the front of your lower leg may be caused by repetitive strain. Two researchers, Galbraith and Lavalee, studied numerous databases and sports medicine journals to see what treatment options existed for shin splints, as well as which ones promised the most results.1
They found that people who suffered from this type of injury often got pleasant result with orthotics when the shin splints were due to “biomechanical problems of the foot.” Additionally, if the injury was due to misalignment, they found that custom orthotics worked better than over-the-counter inserts.1
Heel spurs are calcium formations that can occur at the top or bottom of your heel when you engage in movements that create tension on your Achilles tendon or plantar fascia. You are more susceptible to this type of repetitive strain injury when you endure intense physical activity without giving your feet enough time to rest. Foot orthotics offer relief by providing the proper amount of support for your feet, causing the tension—and pain—to decrease.
Plantar fasciitis is an injury that can occur in the plantar fascia tendon, which is the tendon that runs along the bottom of your foot, extending from your heel to your toes. As with heel spurs, this condition also occurs if you engage in vigorous physical activity without giving your feet enough rest time.
Orthotics can help with plantar fasciitis in that they position your foot so it places minimal pressure on the plantar fascia tendon. In fact, a three-month study conducted by researchers at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine found that, for their 60 participants, those with custom orthotics fared much better than those with over-the-counter inserts.2
Spend a lot of time running and you may experience pain in your calf due to Achilles Tendinitis, which is an inflammation of your Achilles tendon. Foot orthotics can help in this situation as they lift your heel higher, reducing the amount of strain placed upon the tendon itself.
If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions or suspect that you have one of them, foot orthotics may help relieve your pain. Of course, you should always check with your podiatrist to know for sure.
1Galbraith R, Lavallee M. Medial tibial stress syndrome: conservative treatment options. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2009;2(3):127-33.
2Donatelli TJ, Turlik MA, Veremis MG. A comparison of shoe inserts in relieving mechanical heel pain. Foot. 1999;9(2):84-87.