A few decades ago, scientists used to say that the human body is the perfect machine. Our bodies have been perfected over millions of years of evolution which has reached a fine level of complexity. The structure that supports us is like an architectural design and in fact, it uses many of the principles that would later be applied to architecture in order to support buildings.
The ostheoartromuscular system supports our weight as well as allows us to move. We have hard pillars, called bones, points of movement which are the joints, and elastic tissue like tendons that help us absorb the impact and keep our posture. Muscles that help support our body by providing the tension and strength needed to hold everything in position.
As we are bipedal, our body weight often lies on our feet. Thus they are constructed in a way that is meant to support forces. Not only do they take all our body weight, but they will also take the impact of jumps and many other movements. They must be strong, flexible and have the right shape.
In order to fulfill their function, our feet have an arch structure that helps distribute and hold the weight. The rest of the bones and ligaments on our body’s axis - our legs, our pelvis, our spine and neck - also have a special shape to distribute and support weight.
Of course, nothing is perfect, not even the human body. Some of us can have structural problems with our bones or ligaments; perhaps our muscles aren’t strong enough, or joints cede too much, or ligaments stretch more or less than they should. All of these problems threaten the overall posture of our bodies and the way they can take the weight and impact forces of our movements.
The most important part of is our feet because they are the base on which everything else lies. If our feet are bent, weak or damaged, our skeleton will bend as well, our joints will be overcharged and the muscles won’t be able to do their job. This causes painful conditions as well as making our tissues damaged. Many injuries that are associated with physical activity are more frequent when the body structure isn’t at its best.
Feet are the base of our body, like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is strong, the house can hold in place; if the foundation is crooked or weakened, the building could collapase.
Orthotic insoles are supportive surfaces that are shaped as the feet should be, so when we stand our feet on them, they adopt the right posture. Orthotic insoles are used mostly for fallen arches, which is a common cause of foot and body pain, and it also increases the risk of sport injuries. As the shape of an arch is best to support weight - architects know that and have been using them for buildings and bridges for a long time - flat feet is the cause of many bad support and posture issues.
For these cases, orthotics help prevent running injuries. However, they have more use than just prevention. As improper support increases the strain on feet and leg tissue, orthotic insoles can be helpful with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis or other conditions of the like. Of course, feet support the whole body, so orthotics can also help with low back pain, knee pain, shin splints and other painful conditions caused because jonts are at unnatural angles due to lack of proper basal support.
One company called Footlogics make insoles for all conditions, from prevention to treatment of existing problems. Orthotic insoles rarely need a special prescription, so any standard insole should be good for you. However, you must be sure not to overuse them because your feet are naturally meant to support your body properly and take the impact of physical activities and normal walking. Abusing of orthotic insoles will cause the feet to relax and loose their muscular tone, because they become accustomed to the external support of the insole. Walking barefoot has been often reported as the best way to have a good arch structure and foot shape. However, orthotics can help relief acute painful conditions and protect you from injuries if you already have flat foot.
Go to a podiatrist to get your feet checked. The professional should tell you whether or not you need insoles and where to get them if so.
Grasmere Foot School, training and education for foot doctors