Benefits of insoles for running

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Athlete's feet are the most sensitive body part since most efforts are provided by the feet/shoes interface.

When walking, running or jumping, propulsion is provided by the foot and ankle, resulting in stresses that may impact the whole body dut to the vibration shock wave.

Long-term running causes changes in certain foot variables, such as a flattening of the foot arch.  Such changes are probably due to fatigued foot stabiliser muscles, hence the idea to use corrective and cushioning insoles during sports, even for feet considered as normal in static or rest conditions

Why use a cushioning material?

In physics, a material is considered as cushioning when it reduces the amplitude of the vibrations caused by hard impacts. When running, your stride generates a shock wave as your foot contacts with the ground, and this wave spreads up to the back of the head (occiput) through the skeleton, and should therefore be cushioned in the opinion of certain biomechanics specialists and doctors. Indeed, the contact of the heel with the ground causes an abrupt deceleration generating the shock wave.

Do you know the various natural cushioning systems of your body?

  • The plantar pad combines resilient and cushioning properties.
  • The joints and joint cartilages,
  • The muscles and our proprioceptive muscular system,
  • The architecture and anatomy of the foot, when switching from supination to pronation (varus / valgus for doctors)

And also our overall flexibility and lack of excessive weight

Did you know? Pronosupination, an essential component of walking and running

It has three functions:

  • to compensate for any lower limb disorders
  • to have an energy recovery action
  • to help stabilize your stride and absorb the shock wave

But be careful, "proprioceptive" balance is required to avoid "pathological" over-pronation or supination (under-pronation) of the foot

Do you have a neutral, pronator or supinator foot?

Have a look at the wear on your shoes that you have used for over 1000 km of walks and runs, or purchased at least one year ago!

If the inner sides of your soles are worn, with a heel sole worn along the side, you suffer from overpronation.

If your sole is worn along the outer side, you suffer from supination (under-pronation).

If the wear pattern is centralized, then you have a neutral pronation.

What to do in case of over-pronation

Wear pattern along the inside edge of the sole and distorted shoes stiffener.

You are like most runners, so don't panic, but a podiatric examination including stride analysis may provide a technical solution

We recommend purchasing neutral shoes and insert an appropriate insole in the shoe, after removing the original insole, except in case of a pathological over-pronation confirmed by a sports podiatrist.

The risk is the emergence of conditions called "runner's tendinopathy", such as periostitis or tendinitis. There is also a risk of experiencing a stress fracture

What to do in case of under-pronation (supination)

Wear of the forefoot toward the outer side and of the stiffener toward the outer side.

Less common: 10% of runners (former football player?).

Neutral shoes with removable comfort insoles, so that you can them with heat-moulded insoles made by a podiatrist.

The onset of "tendinopathies" is a possibility, such as lateral peroneal tendonitis and mostly knee pains with a risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Conclusion

The foot/shoe interface is extensively used when running. The use of insoles, after seeking advice from a podiatrist or verified technical advice, will reduce the risk of injuries and most of all chronic conditions such as tendonitis or periostitis by optimising muscle capacity for increased performance and reduced fatigue.

Docteur Patrick Bacquaert

Médecin chef de l'IRBMS

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