One of the top questions we get from people is whether runners should wear orthotics. Of course, runners with known foot problems such as plantar fasciitis or heel pain already know that orthotics can help alleviate pain, but many people believe that orthotics are solely a treatment for existing problems. Orthotics can also be used to help avoid problems. In fact, preventative orthotics may be the best monetary investment a runner can make- helping you not only avoid pain and potential injuries, but also keeping you running while avoiding downtime due to injuries.
Most people do not use the ideal gait when they run. You may overpronate or underpronate and your gait may be different than your walking gait. Slight problems may have little impact during the course of normal daily activities, but really become exacerbated when you run, especially if you 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 because each foot strike transfers approximately four to seven times your body weight of force to the foot when you run.
Custom orthotics are designed with your foot in mind, to help you keep your foot in the right place, keep your body aligned properly, and provide cushioning to help absorb the shock of impact. You may think that good running shoes are supposed to do all of those things, making orthotics unnecessary. A good pair of running shoes is absolutely critical to the health of your feet and joints, but many people do not really understand what that means. It does not mean having to spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of running shoes; you can find even budget running shoes that offer good support, fit, and comfort. However, unless you are getting shoes specifically designed for your feet and level of activity, you are not going to get the same benefits as you would using orthotics, no matter how much you spend on a pair of running shoes.
Rather than opting for over-the-counter products, runners should find a custom orthotic that is designed specifically for them. If you enjoy running and want to ensure you can keep doing it safely while minimizing your chances of long-term damage or injury, custom orthotics are worth the investment. Fortunately, at Arcus, we make that option easy and affordable.