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Do Sports Orthotics differ from day to day wear?

When purchasing foot orthotics, athletes are advised to select a pair made specifically for use in sports. Unlike orthotics built to deal with the day to day movements of the foot, sports orthotics are made from specialist material designed to increase support and shock absorbency and are much better equipped to aid the foot during high pressure activities.

Athletes should also consider selecting an orthotic built for the specific sport they participate in. This is because different sports will put strain on different areas of the body. For instance, some sports will put more strain on the foot and others the knee. Sport orthotics are tailored to maintain correct alignment during each sport, thus decreasing the likelihood of incurring associated injuries and helping to enhance performance.

For example:

Running

Running is high impact due to the speed at which the foot moves and the repetitive nature of the gait. Stress is increased in the heels, as weight is shifted over to the ball of the foot and the toes. Orthotics for sprinters are springy and are designed to protect and stabilise the heel, as well as the arches and the ball of the foot. Running orthotics are designed with increased shock absorbency, to protect against pain in the foot, legs, hips and lower back.

Tennis

Tennis incorporates stop/start motions and puts considerable stress on the ball of the foot and toes. Orthotics for tennis and other racket sports provide extra protection and support to these areas whilst re-distributing weight so that pressure is spread evenly over the entire foot.

Skiing

Ski orthotics can be beneficial to skiers with even a mild degree of pronation. Ski boots lock the foot into position, restricting movement, so that skiers who over pronate are balancing on the outside of the foot. This hinders edging and turning. Some skiers will compensate by moving their knees, which can cause injury.

Orthotics designed for skiing, redistribute the weight so that it is evenly spread over the foot. They will have a deep heel cup and arch support.

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