Skip to main content
« How Strength and Conditioning can help you be a better runner Common causes of knee pain in runners »

Are Orthotics Worth It

Categories: Exercise

Orthotics are inserts you put in your shoes and they’re designed to support your foot. They can change the way your foot performs, specifically looking at the degree of pronation. There are a variety of orthotics on the market ranging from custom made to the generic off the shelf type.

An orthotic encourages your preferred path of motion, this means your body doesn't need to work as hard. You can then encourage and activate the right muscles to help the movement,.

There is mixed research surrounding orthotics as to whether they make a difference with running injuries and pain.

A lot can depend on who is prescribing them and what you need them for.

You want to make sure the analysis you have is unbiased and the person doing it isn’t trying to sell you their own specific brand or gain commission from them.

Having a gait analysis or a biomechanics assessment is a good place to start as it can break down your running technique and look at how you move as a whole, this can highlight any imbalances and show which muscles you need to either stretch or strengthen.

If you have a specific condition orthotics will most likely help you and you’ll notice the benefit from them.

  • Plantar Fasciitis – inflamation of the sole of the foot
  • Arthritis – affects the joint of the foot
  • Diabetes – Interferes with foot circulation
  • Metatarsalagia – Painful foot affects bones and joints of the balls of your feet

You may benefit if you have

  • Patellofemoral knee pain
  • Shin Splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Bunions

If you’re finding you have an over use injury, it’s more likely you have an issue with your biomechanics, and you’re better looking at exercises and training to correct them. Because of this you canst always link the pronation of your foot to running injuries.

It’s important to remember if you do try orthotics start simple and try the off the shelf type. If you notice an improvement keep them in and focus on strengthen your glutes, legs and feet to prevent long term injuries. However if at any point you it feels worse remove them and seek medical advice.