To Avoid Injury, Choose Orthotics (Not Insoles)

A breakdown of the differences between insoles and orthoticsSo many runners I’ve met think that shoe inserts are the solution to all their injury problems…and, as it turns out, at least SOME of them are right.

According to a new study from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, contoured foot orthotics (like the custom ones I provide patients in my Houston podiatry practice) were tied to a 28 percent lower risk of injuries and a 41 percent lower risk of stress fractures.

While that’s great news, it’s the other part of the study that may provide cause for concern. Shock absorbing inserts, the kind that tend to be available over-the-counter in drug stores and supermarkets, were found to do nothing in terms of injury-prevention; in fact, some of the evidence even suggested an increased risk of injury when wearing these thinner, flat insoles.

The real message of the study is clear—not all shoe inserts are created equally, but really good ones can make a major difference in terms of your long term walking and running comfort.

If you are concerned about gait and running injuries, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment to discuss orthotics. Together, we can determine which shoe insert (if any) will best meet your needs.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.