Foot Dynamics Custom Footbeds and Orthotics Blog
Hitting the slopes on a sunny spring day is a favorite for many skiers—who enjoy warmer temperatures and a little sunshine while zipping down slopes. Foot pain, however, can quickly put a damper on your spring skiing fun.
Ill-fitting boots are most often the cause of foot pain while skiing by pinching, rubbing or allowing too much movement of the foot. Arch pain and cramping can occur when your foot is unstable, preventing even weight distribution. Without realizing it, you may be trying to use the muscles of your foot to fill space in your boots to turn and stop more effectively. This strain on your foot muscles can cause cramps and aches in your arches.
Everyone’s feet are different, and boot manufacturers design the boots to fit the greatest possible variety of feet. If they were to make the footbeds in the boots too supportive, it would “offend” some peoples’ feet and they might not buy them. This is also why boot manufacturers tend to make their liners very cushioned, to initially feel comfortable to the greatest variety of foot shapes. But foot pain can occur if the liner is too soft, allowing the foot to move around inside the shell.
Providing a stable foundation in the boot– usually involving custom ski footbeds/orthotics—will support the foot in a neutral position. Custom footbeds/orthotics reduce motion caused by the natural tendency for the foot to spread out and roll to the inside or outside, helping relieve the muscle fatigue that causes your arches to ache.
Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), are a common condition in runners and cause throbbing and aching in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle. The pain might strike during your run, after your run or you might just be unlucky enough to feel it all the time.
Shin splints generally result from too much force being placed on your shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone, and may be caused by:
- Irritated and swollen muscles
- Stress fractures
- Over-pronation or flat feet
Having the proper equipment for any sport is important to minimize the risk of injury–and shoes are the most important piece of equipment for a runner. Most companies who specialize in running shoes make significant investment into the technology and science of developing high performance footwear—and appropriate footwear can help prevent and reduce the effect of shin splints. However, good running shoes may not be enough to prevent this painful condition – especially for those runners with over-pronated feet, or feet which have fairly good arches when not standing up, but flatten excessively when walking or running.
While shin splits often heal on their own, ignoring them can result in more serious injuries, such as stress fractures to the bone. Rest and applying ice are common treatments for shin splints, but new shoes and custom running orthotics may be the answer. Orthotic insoles are useful in that they help prevent over-pronation and provide heel cushioning to reduce impact while providing heel stability.
Let Foot Dynamics Help! Our running orthotics are designed to complement modern running shoe technology, with full length, semi-flexible orthotics designed to control excessive foot motion under high impact. ORDER YOURS TODAY!
Hot Foot? Douse the Flames for Good!
Many cyclists suffer from metatarsalgia or “hot foot” — a burning pain in the ball of the foot that can radiate toward the toes. Severe cases can feel like someone is actually holding a blowtorch to the ball of your foot. Hot foot occurs most often on long rides and may develop more quickly or intensely on hilly courses because climbs cause greater pedaling pressure. The pain results when nerves are squeezed between the heads of each foot’s five long metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot just behind the toes.
Feet always swell on long rides, especially in warmer weather, causing pressure inside shoes that normally fit fine. Besides tight shoes, another risk factor is small pedals, particularly if you have large feet. Small pedal surfaces concentrate pressure on the ball of the foot instead of spreading it the way a larger pedal will. If your cycling shoes have flexible soles like most mountain bike shoes, they’ll be less able to diffuse pressure.
With hot foot, it is not actually heat that causes the pain; rather, it is pressure on nerves that causes the burning sensation. Many cyclists believe that splashing water on their feet will help alleviate the problem, but that is a symptomatic treatment that doesn’t really address the root of the problem.
Having the proper footwear can make all the difference in the comfort of your feet during and after a ride. Here are several options you can try to put out the flames:
- Adjust shoe straps. Tighten the top strap nearest your ankle to help stop your feet from slipping around in your shoes.
- Wear thinner socks. This will give your feet more room and is especially helpful if your shoes are on the snug side.
- Buy new shoes. Look for a model with a wider-and-higher toe box and a stiffer sole and footbed with a metatarsal button.
- Purchase custom cycling orthotics from Foot Dynamics. These footbeds are fit specifically to your feet with built-in metatarsal buttons. If you are a cyclist, be sure to order orthotics designed specifically for cycling, as cycling is a forefoot activity and orthotics designed for running or other full gait activities won’t provide the support you need.
Among the most effective treatments for heel pain is stretching, especially the posterior c compartment which includes the Achilles tendon, hamstrings, soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. Unfortunately even five minutes of stretching several times a day isn’t likely to have much impact over the course of a full day of walking with your heels elevated 12 mm or more. By lowering your heel height to zero you will get the benefit of a full day of stretching without stopping to make time for a stretching regiment. Birkenstocks and Altra shoes are the perfect choice for healthy footwear.
The most effective stretches involve the back of the leg and the best stretch will come from wearing shoes with no or little heel rise instead of short duration stretching. Altra Zero Drop shoes and Birkenstocks are best.