To Orthotic or Not?
To Orthotic or Not? It’s a question we hear regularly. The answer - well it's a little complicated! This week we dive a little deeper into the world of orthotics - what they are, when you may need one, and how to keep your feet healthy!
Let’s start with the basics, what is an orthotic? “An orthotic is a support, brace, or splint used to support, align, prevent, or correct the function of movable parts of the body. Shoe inserts are orthotics that are intended to correct an abnormal or irregular walking pattern, by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes a walking or running surface.” (medicine.net)
It’s often thought that orthotics are required to correct the foot, but often times we find that by wearing an orthotic for too long we make the feet weaker. (Think: leaving a cast on your arm for too long) Now, we are by no means “anti orthotic” at TRP, in fact we recommend them regularly. We do however, believe that orthotics have a specific role and we most often recommend them during the acute phase (onset) of an injury of the foot or ankle, like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. We don't love long-term use as we prefer to keep those feet naturally strong and happy.
There are numerous foot exercises perfect for strengthening feet and many of the surrounding muscles. These work great for both preventative and post injury. Here are two of our favourites:
Towel Scrunches: Begin in a standing position with your feet staggered. Rest your forward foot on a flat towel and slightly bend your knee. While keeping your back knee straight, scrunch the towel with your toes - keeping the rest of your foot in contact with the ground at all times. Repeat 15 scrunches with each foot, up to three sets.
Toe Spelling: Nice and simple, this exercise is great for stretching the plantar fascia. While lying on your back, slowly write the entire alphabet with your foot. Repeat with the other foot.
As always, get assessed! If you’re curious about orthotics, foot health or how to incorporate foot strengthening exercises into your routine, come chat with us! Orthotics can be a great recovery tool for many runners experiencing a range of foot-related injuries and understanding their roll is key for a proper recovery.
Here's to strong feet!