Runners know that there’s nothing quite like a good run to breathe in the fresh air, clear the mind, and get the body’s endorphins pumping. The cardiovascular conditioning that running provides is pretty hard to beat. Arm runners with their choice of tunes, favorite athletic wear, and the open road, and they’re set with their dose of zen.
The Impacts of Running
On the flip side to all of the amazing health benefits that running provides, runners can experience problems due to the intense training. As much as we hate to say it, runners are an injury-prone group of athletes, whether they sprint, run laps, or do long-distance jogging. Some estimates suggest that up to 50% of runners are injured each year, though experts believe the numbers may be even higher.
The main cause of injury in runners is overuse. Runners tend to be enthusiastic about their sport and are unlikely to rest when they first notice a problem. Instead, they push on, thinking they can work past the pain. As a result, minor injuries can become major or chronic injuries.
What About Gait?
Let’s take a moment to talk about gait. What is it? Gait is essentially a person’s manner of walking. Most people do not use the ideal gait when they run. They may overpronate or underpronate and their gait may be different from their walking gait. Slight problems may have little impact during normal daily activities, but become exacerbated when they run, especially if they are in an intensive training period. In fact, even runners with great feet and the perfect gait can begin to experience foot pain or referred body pain when they train intensely. This is because each foot strike transfers approximately four to seven times your body weight of force to the foot when you run!
What About the Shoes?
A well-made, properly-fitted athletic shoe designed for running is perhaps the most important part of a runner’s uniform. When trying on a new shoe, it’s important to look for ample cushioning with enough space for the foot to breathe but not slide around in the shoe. We recommend trying the shoe on with athletic socks, and walking laps around the store. Be sure to stop, lunge, and turn to mimic the movements in your workouts to get the best idea of which shoe is the most comfortable and supportive for you. Trying on several different brands and styles for comparison is helpful in finding the ideal pair, and remember that sometimes your shoe size changes with age and weight fluctuations. This may be surprising, but you can get a more accurate fit when you shop later in the day. Why? Because your feet tend to expand as you get more steps in.
So the proper athletic shoe takes care of any foot problems, right? Not always.
Even if a runner is using the correct gait, proper form, and wearing the right shoe gear, damage can occur. The more intense the training, the greater the risk of pain and injury. This is especially true for older runners or runners who have previously experienced injuries.
What Can Custom Orthotics for Runners Do?
What are the best running shoes for custom orthotics? It really depends on your foot and your preference. There are several top brands in athletic shoes that all provide a great foundation of support. The best custom orthotics for runners work in concert with your favorite athletic shoes and provide molding and shock absorption that may help you avoid running-related pain or injuries. Conversely, adding the wrong running insoles could actually do more harm than good, exacerbate any existing pronation problems, and cause a greater impact on the wrong areas when your foot strikes.
Purchasing Custom Orthotics for Runners
Purchasing custom orthotics for runners can help prevent many running-related injuries. They are one tool that can help keep you doing what you love– on the road and injury-free.
Custom foot orthotics come in two main categories, over-the-counter shoe inserts and custom-made devices specifically designed for your body. They can change how the foot interacts with the ground during walking, running, or jumping. As mentioned above, using the wrong orthotic can actually make a runner more prone to injury–and that is why it is important to find the right fit for you.
Most over-the-counter orthotics (OTC) are really just cushions. They add gel, foam, or plastic to your shoe to help cushion and absorb your steps. For runners with a good gait and no pre-existing foot conditions, OTC orthotics can be enough to help prevent some injuries. However, if you have any type of foot injury, gait problem, or structural abnormality, the best custom orthotics for runners will help you avoid injury and alleviate current issues. They are built for your foot and are designed to solve a specific problem. Orthotics can help with a range of issues including:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Shin Splints
- Knee Pain
- Back Pain
- Weak Ankles
While any of those conditions can cause pain or discomfort on their own, the real risk to runners is that they will put you at a greater risk for injury. Getting custom orthotics designed to compensate for your existing foot problems will help you preserve your health and avoid injuries.
Want to make running a safer pastime and lower your risk of injury? Consider Arcus. We believe we offer the best custom orthotics for runners. Our products cost 50%-70% less than podiatrist-ordered orthotics, and still offer the same custom benefits! Let us help you to keep doing exactly what you love…running!