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Your Definitive Guide to Insoles

by MASS4D® Insoles

Insoles, are supportive devices that are placed in your shoes. These can be easily slipped into most types of footwear and help treat foot posture problems such as flat arches.

Insoles are also used to treat painful foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bunions or Morton’s neuroma – all of which can be linked to foot posture problems.

While there are all kinds of insoles available in the market, there are mainly two categories that exist: custom and off-the-shelf. What’s the difference?

An off-the-shelf (or ready-to-wear) insole refers to a standardised insole that is produced in large quantities for many foot conditions.

Different Insoles
A variety of insoles are available in the market.

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These insoles could be flat or arched, three quarter or full length.As the name suggests, off-the-shelf insoles can easily be purchased off the shelves of pharmacies, sports centres, clinics and footwear shops.

A custom insole, in contrast, is designed according to the exact measurements of your foot after considering factors such as your bodyweight, activity levels, foot flexibility and foot condition.

Custom insoles are often produced by clinicians who are skilled in making insoles, such as orthotists or podiatrists, as they are in a better position to identify foot posture problems, and create a product that can help treat these problems accordingly.

Such clinicians would also have the right tools and equipment needed to analyse your walking patterns and spot any problems in foot and body posture.

The problem with most insoles 

It is important to note here that not every insole will be able to support your foot in the right manner. This can be due to a variety of reasons – bad design, soft materials, incorrect arch support, etc.

For instance, although inexpensive, you will find most off-the-shelf insoles easily collapsing under full bodyweight because of soft materials and fillings that do not give these insoles enough strength.

Features of Insoles

This means, you may have to routinely replace your insoles since they don’t remain effective for long.

Ultimately, such insoles will fail to sufficiently support the foot and as a result, provide little to no change in the functioning of the feet.

This is why it is necessary for an insole to be made with the right blend of flexibility for movement, and strength for structural support.

It is only with this perfect balance of elasticity and firmness that your insole will be able to deliver positive results in your recovery programme.

What to look for in your insoles 

You spend a major part of your day on your feet, which makes it essential to choose insoles that can optimally support your feet throughout the day.

Considering the effect of hard flooring on the feet, it is best to opt for insoles that cushion your feet and reduce the stress of manmade surfaces on the feet.

A good pair of insoles should be able to resist collapse during any type of movement or activity. For this purpose, it is highly advisable to avoid insoles that are flat, foam-based or have gel fillings.

Good Insoles

This becomes even more essential if you’re an athlete involved in sports, such as running or cycling, that increase pressure on your feet. It would also be helpful if your insole has a formed heel cup for added support and stability during a game.

Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     buy now

Another feature to look for in your insole is a well defined arch; insoles that lack prominent arches will not be able to stabilise flat feet and encourage proper foot movement.

If left untreated, flat feet can have an effect on not only your feet, but the rest of your body as well. This often leads to common health complaints such as low back pain or hip pain.

For foot pain and foot conditions

Your insoles need to be well suited for your foot condition. Ready-to-wear insoles can be used to treat common foot conditions that cause pain in the feet.

Flat fleet are often responsible for three types of pain in the feet – arch, heel or toe pain – signs of foot posture problems.

Foot Pain

Plantar fasciitis is typically associated with pain in the arch and heel; this pain gets worse especially in the mornings after taking the first few steps out of bed, or walking after a period of rest.

Foot problems such as bunions and Morton’s neuroma can lead to pain in the toes apart from a host of other symptoms.

The many benefits of wearing insoles include proper distribution of weight in the feet which can be particularly helpful in the treatment of bunions; there’s a reduction in excess stress on the big toe joint, giving it time to heal and recover.

As a result of this even distribution, the risk of inflammation is minimised in stress-prone areas which can also help in decreasing pain in the feet.

There are certain conditions for which ready-to-wear insoles are not recommended. This is because treating such conditions would require a high level of personalised support that can only be delivered by custom insoles.

So, if you’re obese, diabetic, have high arches, or suffer from a short leg condition, consider buying custom insoles by visiting a foot specialist who can examine your feet and prescribe these to you.

Insoles for athletes 

Athletes gain tremendously from foot insoles as most overuse injuries occur because of repetitive movements involved in sports such as repeatedly striking the foot against the ground while running.

Repetitive stress, resulting from such movements, can make sports professionals vulnerable to injuries such as stress fractures, ankle sprains and ITB syndrome. Such conditions could mean losing training time or in serious cases, early retirement.

With insoles, sports professionals are able to enhance their athletic performance by training better and longer while maintaining good form and foot posture.

Athletic Wear

Moreover, insoles also assist in stabilising the foot arch especially when included as part of a comprehensive rehab plan that consists of calf stretching and arch strengthening exercises.

Insoles build strength in the arch which prevents it from collapsing and consequently, improves the shock absorption properties of the feet.

With your feet moving in a healthy manner, your lower body also functions efficiently, enhancing your overall posture. This protects you from developing overuse injuries in the lower body, specifically in the ankles, knees, hips or lower back.

Care and maintenance 

Ready-to-wear insoles can last around six months or more, depending on how well you maintain them. Your custom insoles should last a year or longer.

Try not to place any excess weight on your insoles as this could flatten them over time. If you’re obese or involved in sports that involve lifting weights, it would be better to get insoles that are customised to support the extra weight.

It’s advisable not to expose your insoles to extreme temperatures as doing so, can damage your insoles and make them unsuitable for wear.

If you’re looking to wash your insole, use a damp cloth to gently wipe the surface of the insole as needed.

The material of the insole also matters especially for conditions that require specialised treatment. For example, if you have diabetic feet, wearing insoles with a hard top surface will not be good for your feet.

Orthotic Quality

This is because diabetic feet are sensitive and need to be cushioned properly in order to protect them from wounds or ulcers. With extra cushioning and lightweight materials, there is a reduced chance of friction with the bottom of the foot.

In this manner, insoles work to protect you by preventing any serious foot problems from developing in the future.

You can add value to your foot health by investing in the right pair of insoles that will take care of all your foot needs. By ensuring that your insole meets all your needs, you’d be able to get the most out of your pair of insoles.

While it is not easy to choose the perfect pair, once you do find them, you should feel much lighter on your feet.

Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     buy now

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