An orthopedic device used to improve physiological performance of a body part.
What are Sports Orthotics?
Unlike plantar orthotics intended for everyday activities, orthotic insoles for sports are designed to target specific sport-related needs. While some physical activities can be done safely with ordinary orthotics, the movement demanded of our feet during sports differs from that involved in walking. As a result, athletes are advised to use adapted custom-made orthotics to their specific sport.
Orthotics help optimize the body’s biomechanical alignment. By evenly distributing pressure on the foot, every step becomes more efficient.
Orthotics are also used to treat and prevent sports-related injuries. Even a minor misalignment can lead to injury during sports because the pressure on the foot is greater and more frequent than during walking. When you walk, your foot supports up to 1.5 times your body’s weight, but this figure rises to 5 or 7 times when you run or jump.
Who are Sports Orthotics for?
Athletes who want t o:
- Optimize their performance
- Treat or prevent a sport-related injury
- Improve energy performance
- Correct a biomechanical misalignment
What are the benefits of Sports Orthotics?
- Increased contact surface area, resulting in better distribution of pressure on the bottom of the foot
- Reduced impact and better shock absorption
- Improved proprioception (kinesthesia)
- Optimized propulsion (forward movement)
- Decreased muscle fatigue
- Faster post-training recovery
- Improved stability and balance
- Optimized transfer of energy to the rest of the body
In sports medicine, targeted treatment is essential. Therefore, in order to correct the foot's position
orthotics are custom-moulded while the foot is positioned on an optimal axis.
To prescribe and produce optimal sports orthotics, a thorough biomechanical sports exam and review of medical history are essential. Orthotics needs vary significantly among individuals, reflecting different factors like:
- Specific sports activities
- Training frequency and intensity
- Prior injuries
- Performance goals (short, medium and long-term)
- Timing of sporting events
- Previous treatments and professional consultations
- Therapeutic goals
- The specific nature of any injuries
- Body type and biomechanical alignment
- Types of footwear and equipment worn (running shoes, boots, skates, etc.)
All these factors influence the choice of materials used, the degree of adjustment, the positioning of the foot on the device, its size and flexibility and other specifications.
In sports medicine, targeted treatment is essential. Therefore, in order to correct the foot’s position, orthotics are custom-moulded while the foot is positioned on an optimal axis.
Depending on the sport, the foot’s pressure-bearing position may differ. Example, figure skaters’ skates have a much higher heel than hockey skates, and this difference in height should be represented in the mould.
Podimedic clinics use a unique technology to assess the effectiveness of orthotics by observing their impact directly inside the shoes. Thanks to pressure sensors located inside thin insoles, we’re able to see the change in the foot’s behaviour in response to the orthotics and make more refined adjustments if necessary.
Orthotics are like crutches and will make your feet lazy.
On the contrary, an untreated foot alignment problem may worsen over time. The foot orthotics work with the feet by guiding them to make the right movements at the right moments while optimizing their functioning. We can therefore compare the effect that orthotics have on the mechanics of the foot with the effect that glasses have on our sight.
Moreover, several problems arise from defects in the formation of the foot. For example, someone who has a longer bone than the others will end up with excessive pressure at this location, no matter what exercise he or she chooses.
My injury is healed! I don't need to wear my orthotics anymore.
A biomechanical misalignment can cause multiple sports injuries. Even after the injuries heal, plantar orthotics continue to act as a preventive measure. Like eyeglasses again, orthotics are not a permanent cure. They should be worn long-term to continue optimizing your biomechanics and your performance. It's really easy to understand why when we place the pressure sensors in the shoes and observe the changes instantly!