Eric Murray " Custom insoles improve mobility, athletic performance
April 12, 2009
A throbbing ankle or aching arch might prohibit ideal mobilization and possibly sideline an athlete from his or her sport. A custom orthopedic insole may be just the thing to get you back in your game of choice.
“A custom insole puts your foot in a neutral position allowing for the most ideal motion and pivoting,” says David Bronner, physical therapist.
While many people may choose to buy an insole over the counter or through a chain store selling supposed custom sole inserts, Bronner warns that a true customization requires specific knowledge.
“To do it right you need a professional to asses the anatomy of your foot, the mechanics of motion as well as a thorough understanding of weight bearing as it applies to your activity of choice, even if it is simply walking in comfort,” he says.
During the mold casting process, the podiatrist or physical therapist must find the neutral point of the patient’s ankle, known as subtalor neutral.
“This is the key for a properly made orthopedic insole and it is accomplished by observing the position of the talus bone in a neutral position,” Bronner said.
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Furthermore, many of the inserts available on the market are made for the average foot. But according to Bronner, “no foot is average.” He adds that just like a prescription for eye glasses, a person’s foot changes over time and professional adjustments to the orthopedic insert may need to be made.
“We can build in different relief points based on the condition of the person’s foot and we can even tailor it to a specific sport,” he says. The benefits include cushioning of the lower extremities and back, which in turn minimize stress on ligaments of the knees, ankles and hips. It can also aid in mobilization post-operatively following foot or knee surgery.
Many insurance plans will cover the cost. Medicare also supports the value of customized insoles. If walking is painful, perhaps you should talk with your doctor about custom made insoles.