Some runners can run for years and never really need anything other than a good pair of shoes to keep their feet and legs healthy. Other runners can benefit from a little something more — like a pair of orthotic inserts. So when do runners need orthotics? How do you know whether this is something you could benefit from? Here are some signs you may want to start looking for a pair.
You're prone to a lot of injuries.
Do you feel like you're always on the verge of developing some injury or another? One week it might be some Achilles tendon pain. The next week, you have IT band syndrome. There are a lot of reasons why runners become injured, but a common one is a less-than-perfect gait. You might land too close to the inside of your heel, or you might heel strike. Orthotics can help correct your stride and the way you land in a way that prevents excess strain on these tissues and can help you avoid injuries in the future.
You can never find shoes that feel quite right.
Maybe stability shoes feel like they're too stiff. Shoes made for pronation over-correct you too much. The running shoe market has a lot of options, but sometimes, you may still struggle to find a shoe that fits just right. A pair of orthotic inserts can help. A podiatrist or orthopedist can design a set that fits into your current shoes and makes them perfect. This may be a bit of an investment upfront, but it will save you from constantly having to try on and look for shoes in the future.
You're tackling ultra distances.
Ultra-marathoning is a sport of its own. It takes such a toll on your joints that any amount of extra padding in your shoes is going to be helpful. It's also really important that your shoes fit perfectly and give you a good stride when you're running these super long distances. As such, it is common for ultramarathon runners to get fitted for orthotic inserts before they begin a training block so they can stay healthy and strong up until their race.
Not all runners need orthotics, but they can be really helpful in a lot of cases. If you fall into any of the above categories above, make an appointment with a podiatrist service such as Ankle & Foot Specialists of Puget Sound. They can analyze your foot and shoe fit, then make orthotics for you.