Taking Care of Your Toes and Feet

Orthotics For Running: Can They Help?

If you are a serious runner, you may benefit from custom orthotics. Running shoes often don't provide the exact support you need. A little supplementation with an orthotic can improve your form and keep you free from knee and hip pain. Keep reading to learn more about orthotics and running and the benefits they provide.

Why Would Runners Need an Orthotic?

Running puts pressure on your feet, especially on hard and flat surfaces like asphalt. Even if you have perfect feet (most people don't), you risk injury if you run for many miles a day. Most people do not have perfect feet. While running shoes can do a lot to help correct foot imperfections, they are not custom-made for specific problems.

Many podiatrists also use custom orthotics for their injured runner patients. Often, the orthotic takes the pressure off the injury and prevents its recurrence. Orthotics can help keep your knees and hips aligned and reduce joint problems.

What Do Orthotics Do for Runners?

Orthotics work in two ways. For one, they can change the angle of your feet as you walk. If you put too much pressure on either side of your foot, an orthotic can reduce that pressure, so you put your weight more evenly across the entire foot. Orthotics can also help with the heel, sole, and ball of the foot. They are useful for bone spurs and plantar fasciitis, for example.

When and How Long Should You Wear Orthotics?

While you can get orthotics over-the-counter, consult your podiatrist before you buy one. If you wear the wrong orthotic, you could do more harm than good. If you are wearing them because of an injury, you may be able to stop once you heal. But ask your doctor first. If you wear them because you have a permanent foot condition, you should continue wearing them as long as you remain a runner. You may need to replace them as they wear.

How Does a Podiatrist Prescribe Orthotics?

The podiatrist will examine and take measurements of your feet. They will watch how you walk and run and identify your issues. Some podiatrists also make a mould of your feet for an exact fit. The result is an orthotic uniquely for you. These types of orthotics will not only reduce pain while your run but could also improve your performance.

When you love to run, you need to protect your feet and legs. Running, especially on pavement, is hard on your feet. If you have a problem with pronation or arches, then running can cause other issues. If you have issues with your feet and ankles, a custom orthotic may help. Check with your podiatrist to see if an orthotic can help you.