In this guide we will be discussing a number of different foot conditions aswell as injuries and we will be finding out just what are the best insoles to help treat them.
Few us are born with perfect feet! Studies have proven that fewer than 10% of the human population have what would be described as having “normal” or neutral feet, this means your feet do not necessarily need any kind of particular care or support to prevent yourself from getting foot injuries but if you do want to give yourself some extra support orthotics are a good starting point!
Orthotics are insoles that you insert into your shoes in order to help support and position the foot in a correct and natural way.
Your feet support your entire skeleton so looking after them is important as a problem with your feet could have an effect on your entire body if your feet are not aligned or positioned correctly.
Do I need to wear Orthotic insoles?
As I previously pointed out above, very few of us have the “perfect” type of feet, therefore it is highly likely that you have imperfect feet rather than having a perfect pair, however just because your feet might not be perfect does not mean your feet will require special orthotic insoles.
To find out if you require orthotics you need to know what sort of foot type you have and if your foot type needs extra care and attention.
Reasons for wearing orthotic insoles
There are typically four main foot injuries and conditions that require orthotic insoles
- plantar fasciitis, which is usually caused when the plantar fascia develop tears and holes causing inflammation of the sole of the foot, and is very painful
- diabetes, that usually interferes with blood flow within the feet. People with diabetes often need insoles to help boost circulation in the feet.
- arthritis, that usually impacts the joints of the foot
- metatarsalgia, a unpleasant foot condition which impacts the metatarsal bones found in the ball of the foot
Other problems which could be treatable by wearing insoles include bunions Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, knee pain and various other systemic pathologies that impact the lower limbs.
Can orthotic insoles prevent injuries?
Unfortunately insoles cannot prevent injuries. A lot of insoles are usually sold using the promise that the insoles will help to wearer from getting injured. However You ought to be very cautious of just about any insole supplier that tells you that their insoles will help to prevent problems from occurring if you don’t already have any foot problems. Research has proven that insoles are not very good at preventing injury for example in 2010 a study was carried out that gave army marines shoes based the shape their feet for training in. The marines that were given the customized shoes had just as many injuries as the marines that did not have custom made shoes.
Can a pair of insoles really treat repetitive strain injury?
Repetitive strain injuries are typical in athletes and are very hard to get rid of, Typically Repetitive strain injuries are often one of the primary reasons why people start thinking if they need to start wearing insoles or not. This is because people have the mistaken belief that Repetitive strain injuries are triggered by wrong biomechanics and that orthotic insoles will correct this.
Even though biomechanics could possibly contribute to Repetitive strain injuries, the main cause of repetitive strain injuries is, oddly enough, repetitive straining! which will not be fixed even if you start wearing the best insoles in the world – There may as well possibly be orther factors contributing to your repetitive strain injury such as your genetics affecting the speed of your healing mechanisms, for example some individuals could get Achilles tendinitis just by walking even just a little bit, whilst other individuals can easily run marathons for years and years and never once get Achilles tendinitis.
Can orthotic insoles help with Repetitive strain injuries?
Quite a great deal of things have to fall in place well before insoles can would be prescribed to treat your Repetitive strain injury . Whether or not you actually an actual biomechanical problem that is causing your Repetitive strain injury needs to be treated else orthotics would just be a waste of time and money.You really need to have a obvious diagnosable biomechanical issue for a physiotherapist to prescribe you some insoles for repetitive strain injury otherwise a physiotherapist may not be able to spot what is wrong an causing your injury.
Always the diagnosed problem needs to be related to your injury. With diagnosis of repetitive strain injuries more often than not it is for many physiotherapists a shot in the dark as to what is causing it because most causes are not obvious and cannot be linked to biomechanics.
Just like with repetitive strain injury’s a number of other injuries cannot be cured by just wearing insoles.
Supposing that your repetitive strain injury is caused by poor biomechanics you still need to buy the right pair of insoles to correct your the biomechanical imbalance that is causing it.
Decent insoles are generally a fairly good correcting any gait or postural problems which could linked to your injury. For example, abnormally high arches tend to be a cause of runner’s knee.
What sort of insoles do I need to buy?
Types of feet
Understanding what sort of feet you have the and the anatomy of the foot is vital in order for you to make an informed choice so that you can buy the best possible insoles for your feet.
Pronated Feet: Having pronated feet typically is what causes the majority of all foot anatomy problems. When your feet are pronated it means that your foot has got a fallen arch (People with pronated feet are often referred to as having”flat feet” – however this is slightly misleading as those with pronated do not really have flat feet but arches that have collapsed due to weight and pressure exerted onto them.
Pronated feet are caused a number of reasons, many think that a weak arch not being able to support the foot properly is to blame for pronated feet however pronated feet are not as straightforward that unfortunately! Pronated feet can also be caused by other causes such as
the leg being rotated inwards causing the foot to tilt inward causing the arch to collapses.
Another cause could be because of instability in the heel and the heel rolling inwards.
Tightness in your foot muscles and tendons can also be attributed to Pronated feet. Tight foot muscles or tight tendons such as your Achilles heel maybe causing the front of the foot to be pulled inwards causing the arch of the foot to collapse.
Weakened muscles caused by nerves that are not functioning correctly can also cause you too loose strength in the supporting muscles of your arch leading your arch to become fallen…
Whatever the reason for your pronated feet this condition more often than not causes bio-mechanical imbalance brought on by the misalignment of your foot and ankle which can also affect not just your feet and ankles but also your lower legs, knees, the hips, and even the back.
For runners and athletes, this can lead to a potentially lasting injury; biomechanical imbalances such as these can possible cause excessive wear and tear on the joints and bones. That is why it is very important to correct your pronated feet.
If you think that you have got pronated feet (flat feet) and what to find out for sure there are two different test you can do to find out:
Start by raising your foot and look beneath it to see if you can find your arch. If can find your arch then , continue with this the test but if you could not find your arch then you have got the flat feet and should scroll down to the next section below.
Once you have located your arch place your foot flat on the ground and slowly shift your weight onto that foot. Now look at your foot on the ground whilst applying your weight to it, do you still have an arch? or has your arch now disappeared or looks flatter flatter than before? If you see that you arch is still the same as it was before then this means that you do not have pronated feet. If however your arch is no longer there or is not as prominent as it was before or you notice that your foot has elongated when you place it on the floor and put weight on it this is a sign that the arch of your foot has slightly collapsed.
If you when you do conduct this test and your feet are completely flat and you have no arch then this means that you have pronated feet . Don’t worry if you do find that you have got pronated feet just over 70% of the population do and you can do something about it! If you have pronated feet, then it simply indicates that something somewhere on your body is misaligned or imbalanced and that most often be fixed
In case you are still not sure whether you have got flat feet or not then you can also: wet the bottom part of your feet and then place a piece of paper on the ground and then stand on it for a few seconds and then step off the piece of paper. A footprint should have been left on the piece of paper, if you have a foot print cover the entire foot including where the arch should be then then this means you have flat feet.
What are the Symptoms of having Flat Feet?
Often you will find that the most common symptom of having flat feet will just be that your arches touch the ground when you stand and that it. h
however Flat feet is a complex affliction which effects different people in different ways. Whilst some individuals who have got flat feet may find that their arches ache while other individuals may not get any aches in their arches but will suffer from aches and soreness on their heels instead.
Flat feet (also known as collapsed arches) are when your arches of your feet are are virtually non existent and cause the all of your foot to touch the floor while standing. Having flat feet can be caused by genetics or because of a foot injury or biomechanical imbalance affecting the arch of your feet – Having flat feet is very common and most people do not have any issues with having them however sometimes people can develop problems and injuries as a direct result of having flat feet. Having flat feet can cause additional tension and pressure on the plantar fascia of your foot that can lead to plantar fasciitis. Having flat feet can also affect the structure of the foot as well as cause misalignments which can create problems not only on your feet but also on your ankles, lower legs, knee and even your back.
Causes of Flat Feet?
Lack of development of the arches from childhood. Usually, when a child develops the structures in their feet tighten; Young children normally have flat feet and do not require treatment. However if for whatever reason the structures in the child’s feet do not develop properly this can mean that in adulthood their feet will be flat.
Wear and tear. Another major cause of flat feet is wear and tear caused over time to the joints and tendons found in your feet such as the plantar fascia; Wear and tear to the tendons and joints causes fallen arches and flat feet because your tendons start to get weaker and can no longer properly support your feet as a result. Fallen arches caused by wear and tear is most common in elderly people due to the cellular degeneration and arthritis.
Conditions that can contribute to you developing flat feet
One can find that there are actually numerous conditions which can also cause you to develop flat feet such as being overweight, damage to your foot or heel area, arthritis, cerebral palsy as well as diabetes.
How could wearing a pair of orthotic Insoles help you if you have got Flat Feet?
If an individual has flat feet that have a tendency to be sore, ache a lot or are painful, the correct paid of orthotic insoles may help considerably. Orthotic will give your flat feet extra arch support, that in turn reduces stress and strain to the arches of your feet and in doing so lessens the soreness,aches and pains that flat feet cause.
In case your flat feet have brought on additional problems with your feet, orthotic insoles developed to treat that particular problem may provide the particular help that your feet require to get rid of that foot problem. If you have flat feet and play sport it is advisable to wear insoles that have been created specially for that particular sport so that the insoles will provide your flat feet support that is tailored to meet the movement and demands of that sport.
Supinated Feet, Unlike with flat feet supinated feet are generally not as simple to diagnose on your own simply by just looking at your feet. If you want to know if you have supinated feet something that may help you is to is concentrate on the way your feet feel when you walk barefooted, do your feet feel as though you are walking on the exterior of your feet when you walk? You can also have a look at your running shoes: examine them and see if the centre of the running shoes are worn out or if the outside of the shoe is worn out instead? If you notice that the your running shoes are most worn out around the outside of the sole, then it is highly likely that you may possibly have supinated feet. To find out more about Supinated feet why not check out this article on the sportsinjuryclinic website.
High Arches also called pes cavus this is the opposite of having flat feet which affects certain individuals making their arches abnormally high. When someone has high arches it means that whenever that person places their foot on the floor, the centre part of the foot doesn’t actually make contact with the floor at all! If you think that you have high arches there is a simple test that you can do. Wet your feet and then take a few steps on a dry surface so that you can record your footsteps. Once you have taken a few steps go back and look at your footsteps and see if you it is an entire footprint or if the middle part of your foot is missing from the footprint. If you have found that the middle part of your foot is missing on the foot print the chances are that you have high arches.
Neutral or Normal Foot, If you have got neutral or normal feet then your feet should appear totally the same no matter if you have your feet are up in the air or if you are standing on them with all of your weight pressing down on them.
After doing these simple test you should now have a pretty good idea of exactly what sort of foot type you possess, now all you need to do is just to work out whether your feet need some extra support or not!
Do you find that your feet ache or are painful in any way? or do you have a persistent injury which will not heal? If you don’t then that simply means that you do not need extra support or insoles.
But if you answered yes and you do suffer from aches and pains or from a persistant injury, then the next question you must ask yourself is “where do you experience this pain?” if the pain is located anywhere that is below the hips, a pair or orthotic insoles may help to ease the pain.
When is the pain worse during the day or at night time? If you find that the pain is worst during night time and even sometimes wakes you up at night it is best that you consult your gp as soon as you can. If you find that your pain is worse during the day, then regardless of what type of feet you have got a pair of orthotic insoles may help to ease this pain. Even if you have “perfect” neutral feet a pair of insoles can help to give your feet extra support and protection.
In case you have got supinated or pronated feet, then you will have to buy some insoles that will match with your misalignment that comes with having supinated or pronated feet (our bones are similar to a puzzle, and have been created to fit perfectly with the other parts of your anatomy), If you do not buy insoles that match your feet type and correct these misalignments and just make do with any old insoles you may find that by wearing ill fitted insoles may lead to degeneration of the joints and bones in your feet and makes things worse.
In case you your feet are totally flat, then you you do not have to worry about wearing any kinds of insoles as your feet simply do not require any sort of extra support, this is because when you walk or run the entire surface of your foot contacts the floor and is supported by the floor!
For those who have a high arch foot you must SUPPORT YOUR ARCH. If you choose to not wear insoles and never have anything their to support your high arch this can lead to foot fatigue or the weakening of muscles and ligament tissue that could get overstretched and inflamed (plantar fasciitis). You should buy some specially created high arch insoles as you will not be able to find relief from normal orthotic insoles this is because your arch too high for normal insoles to support it properly. Custom made insoles can also really really help support high arches however custom orthotics are very expensive.
What insoles to buy?
If you are still unsure of what sort of insoles you should by you should consult your gp or a trained physiotherapists who will provide you with a diagnoses of what is causing your foot pain and will recommend what sort of insoles you need to wear to correct the underlining causes of your foot pain. Here is a really great article on the best types of insoles that you can buy.
What about shoes do you need insoles if you wear good shoes?
Regardless of whether or not you experience any kind of pain or suffer from an injury, correct shoes that support and position your feet correctly is always essential. Proper shoes are sure to help your feet stay in good shape and prevent problems and injuries from arising!
Do you need to put your insoles in a good pair of shoes or not? You should put your orthotics in good shoes that have:
Flexible sole: Your shoes must be really easy to bend. You should be able to bend the shoes so the toes area can touch the heel area with ease. It is important that your shoes bend at the right point as well, your shoes bending point should match where your foot bends which is around the ball of the foot.
Torsion: You should not be able to twist the shoe around. If you try to twist the toe box and the heel the shoe should not be easy to twist. This is because you want to stop the forefoot from twisting an excessive amount and you want to keep the heel stable.
Rigid and supportive heel cup: The heel should be made from a rigid material which does not loose its shape easily and so that it can support the heel properly. The heel cup needs to be securely fixed to the sole of the shoe, so to prevent the heel cup from moving around and too keep your foot stabilized.
So, just exactly how do your shoes measure up now that you know what makes a good pair? In case you believe that your shoes are not good enough then I would certainly advise that you buy some decent ones right away. If you do buy some new shoes but don’t actually see any kind of improvement, then then you should definitely then try out some new insoles instead.
Do you really need to wear them?
People often wrongly believe they that they need to buy “orthotics insoles” however these people hardly ever understand why they need them. People assume that their foot pain is caused because of something to do with the way that they walk or run and that by just wearing a pair of orthotic insoles that will position the feet correctly their problems will be solved.
Orthotic insoles can really really help a lot of people with a lot of of different foot condition’s and injuries but knowing which ones to buy is very important.
There are loads of places that you can buy insoles from online shops such as amazon and ebay however there are many unethical and dishonest insoles suppliers who will tell people that there insoles will cure almost anything when in reality no pair of orthotic insoles can actual cure anything and everything! You need to find a pair of insoles that match your foot type and condition.
There are some sites that you can go to online that will provide you with some great information online which will tell you exactly what insoles to look out for such as the Certified Pedorthists website and the Certified Orthotists website. Sadly, the majority of shoppers will hardly ever have heard of these sites and will tend to just look on amazon or ebay to buy their insoles and will not have a clue of what insoles will work bets for them!
When buying a pair of insoles it is important to always have low expectations because most people expect too much from insoles and think that just by slipping a pair of insoles into their shoes that they will be instantly cured and all of their foot problems will go away however the reality is that orthotics can only do so much!
Podiatrists train for several years and is very intricate and incredibly difficult. Gait analysis is undoubtedly an art and also a science at the same time. I believe that non-specialists simply are just unable to successfully diagnoses every patient that they seem if they have not had years of training. Orthotics insoles must only be given to patients after a through and extensive assessment – taking no less than hour to do, and should take even longer if the condition is more complicated.
It is quite easy to find fake unlicensed podiatrists attempting to sell corrective orthotic insoles in department stores, making use of fancy displays and trendy tech to “examine” or “scan” your feet using lasers… to distract you from their actual level skill or genuine knowledge in podiatry.
Sadly, a lot of insoles that are purchased are just placebos and will not benefit your feet in the slightest. The helpfulness of a pair of insoles is always uncertain regardless of who actually prescribes them, However most “custom” insoles are largely only bits of plastic that just fit to the general shape of your foot at best.
Hardly any of the popular (and cheap) methods used by the fraudsters to create custom insoles actually produce a pair of insoles that fit precisely to the wearers foot shape!
Getting a podiatrist to create your own custom insoles for you gives you the greatest chance of actually getting some insoles that fit and work as they should. This is because podiatrists have been trained to create custom orthotics and know what they are doing and use things like gait analysis, and look at your lower body anatomy and biomechanics to create insoles that will work best for you!
However it should be pointed out that custom made insoles are highly expensive and may not even work! Off the shelf insoles have been proven to be just as good and are in some cases a tenth of the price! You can check out our range of footcare insoles here!
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