What is the role of foot orthotics in sport, writes Reading Osteopath Seb Murtagh. All too often we see patients who’ve made the heart breaking decision to give up their much-loved sport due to their knees “giving way”. Squash, Running, Football, Netball, Skiing… you name it. Knees are very simple joints. Knees love flexion and extension but are not as great when put under lateral or rotational movements. In these cases, I tend to make a beeline straight for the feet where, 9 times out of 10, there will be some sort of underlying issue with foot mechanics.
Are you now starting to run regularly, or return to sport post-COVID lockdowns? If so now is the perfect time to get your foot biomechanics assessed.
Over Pronation is the biggie. Pronation is often inappropriately used to suggest dysfunctional foot mechanics. In fact, pronation is a key part of the gait cycle and essential to an efficient walking or running technique. However, too much pronation or “Over Pronation” leads to increased internal rotation of the shin and excess strain on the knees. This contributes to a variety of knee disorders including meniscus and ligament injuries.
So, how can I tell if I’m over-pronating I hear you ask? Pick up a pair of your well-worn shoes and turn them upside down. Take a look at the tread and look for any uneven wear patterns. If your trainers show excessive wear on the outside of the heel and/or underneath the big toe there is a good chance you are over-pronating.
When one of our team thinks there a problem with your foot mechanics we refer you for an in-house gait assessment. During this session, you will likely be given some specific rehab exercises and potentially fitted for foot orthotics. Orthotics are insole shaped devices that enable most pairs of footwear to provide the specific support that your feet want and need. The design of orthotics recommended to you will be based on your specific needs. The findings of your gait assessment and the type of problem you are experiencing are intrinsic to your prescription. Other than knee issues, your Orthotics may be able to help a wide range of conditions. These include heel pain, bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammer toe, ITB syndrome, hip and lower back pain.
Orthotics may also be used to improve your sports performance by helping align the foot and ankle. They can help increase shock absorption, improve comfort, reduce blisters and most importantly reduce the risk of future injury. At Reflex Spinal Health we have provided orthotics for Premier League footballers, and international rowers amongst others. These athletes know the benefit of foot orthotics in sport performance. Could they be of benefit to you?
Are you ready to get back to sport or exercise? Please come and see what we can do to get you back on track. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior we can help. Book in for a FREE 15 minute foot check and start your journey back to exercise.
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.