Running Orthotics: Do you need them? What type are best?
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How Do I know if I Need Orthotics for Running?

Orthotics are a form of shoe inserts that can be custom made and there are orthotics that are prefabricated. Their use ranges from providing additional comfort and cushioning to your shoes to influencing your biomechanics. If you are running and you are getting feet or knee pain, then you might need orthotics. Orthotics have been proven to be effective in the treatment of common running conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, runner’s Knee, Shin Splints, and IT Band Syndrome.

Picture of a person running on a treadmill

If you have any pain when running it is recommended that you see a Running Specialist such as a Sports Physiotherapist for a Running Gait Analysis. Using slow-motion video analysis, a therapist will be able to identify biomechanical traits that can contribute to overuse running injuries that may benefit from orthotics. Factors that may cause these running injuries are overstriding, overpronation, low cadence, and scissoring.

A Sports Physio can then discuss if you would benefit from custom orthotics for running and if they would alter his biomechanics and improve their pain.

Are orthotics bad for your feet?

There is no evidence to suggest that orthotics are bad for your feet. Some clinicians argue that using orthotics can weaken your foot muscles, but there is no evidence to support this. These suspicions are based on the belief that an orthotic provides additional support to the feet and as a result, the feet muscles don’t have to work as hard as they would without and therefore weaken over time. If a custom orthotic provides the correct amount of support, it should be sufficient to influence the biomechanics and not weaken the feet.

If too much support is provided, it can lead to pain elsewhere such are in the knee, hip and back. As a result, it’s important to see a foot specialist for a biomechanical gait analysis.

Picture of a foot on a running orthotics

What type of running shoe is best for orthotics?

A neutral running shoe with a firm sole is best for orthotics. A neutral trainer has a flat, level sole and an orthotic with an angle of support is then placed on top of this whereas a support trainer has an angled sole and this can compromise the level of support from the orthotics. We recommend avoiding cushioned running shoes for orthotics as when your body weight can cause the orthotic to sink into the sole of the shoe, losing its benefit.

Picture of a custom running orthotics inside a running shoe

How to wear orthotics in Running Shoes?

When wearing orthotics in running shoes it is recommended that you remove the inner sole from the running trainer and replace them with the orthotic.

In most cases, the inner sole slips out easily and some are stuck to the base of the shoe with a little bit of glut but they can be easily peeled off.

What are the best Running Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis?

Custom Semi-rigid orthotics are the best type of running orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis. A study by Gross et al, 2002. demonstrated that custom orthotics were beneficial for reducing pain levels and increasing the function levels of those with Plantar Fasciitis.

At Flawless Orthotics, we create custom orthotics made specifically for runners with Plantar Fasciitis. They can be designed to fit any foot shape or trainer and are best used alongside a rehabilitation protocol for Plantar Fasciitis.

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