Each sport makes different demands on the foot and ankle that can make an athlete more prone to certain injuries. At the same time, each person has their own unique body structure and movements.
For certain people and instances, wearing foot orthotics may be an ideal way to prevent or treat injuries due to sports as well as prevent and correct foot deformities. Orthotic devices may benefit people who participate in weight-bearing and impact sports.
An orthotic is a type of shoe insert that supports the arch, cushions the impact of a hard surface, and improves biomechanics. They can alleviate painful joints and in some cases prevent the need to have surgery to correct deformities. Orthotics can relieve pressure on the foot by supporting a problematic area such as a callus. Foot orthotics may also be advised if you’re flatfooted or your foot overpronates when you walk.
When an injury occurs, custom orthotics can be used to improve the function of the vulnerable or injured body part, and to help facilitate proper alignment by supporting lower extremity tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
Orthotics are made of different types of materials, such as plastic and leather. Usually athletes prefer semiflexible orthotics which move with your foot and make you less prone to blisters. Custom-designed orthotics incorporate weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing measurements.
According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, people playing certain sports may require orthotics for different reasons.
- Cycling: control the lower leg’s internal and external rotation.
• Jogging and running: absorb shock when the heel makes contact, providing control and setting up the forefoot to push off.
• Sprinting: control forefoot movements.
• Tennis: provide lateral support, reduce shear factors, absorb shock (particularly in the forefoot), and permit subtalar motion.
• Basketball: control the forefoot during running and jumping; control excessive inversion.
• Skiing: stabilize the foot and inhibit motion inside the ski boot.
When an athlete’s entire body is in balance, due to wearing orthotics, he or she should realize improved performance and lower their risk of getting injured.