Discomfort inevitably kicks in at some point or another in your shoes. It could be a few weeks after you got your new running shoes or a month after getting a new pair of elegant shoes. It might be a pinching sensation in your running shoes or a chafing sensation in your work shoes. Either way, chances are you might need insoles for extra comfort, but also to prevent further problems, such as heel pain. It sounds like a small problem and it probably is. But ignore it for too long and you might end up with a severe medical condition.
When overlooked for too long, these simple heel pains will make it impossible to walk. The pain will transmit to the calves and knees, only to end up affecting the lower back. Little do you know about the cause – such a simple issue like the heel and such a simple solution. When people think about insoles, they think about those comfortable inserts made of silicone or other soft materials for some extra cushioning. Aaah, the comfort! But this is not everything because insoles these days represent a need for most people. It is no longer about comfort, but about health and safety.
Do you really need insoles? Understanding what they are and how they work can help you make a more informed decision. Basic insoles are referred to as inserts, while the more sophisticated ones (or the ones with medical purposes) are known as orthotics. They have plenty of benefits. Keep in mind that you spend most of your active part of the day putting pressure and tension on your feet. You put stress on them when you stand up, walk, step, run, jog, drive and so on.
The stress comes in the form of tension. It must be absorbed for efficient functionality. Problems arise if the heel fails to do that properly. They are quite diversified and may vary from knee or lower back pain to plantar fasciitis.
You probably ask yourself now – what is the difference between now and thousands of years ago? People use to walk barefoot. Terrains were quite harsh. Even if they did have footwear, they were far from the technological innovations available on the market today. Back then, people did not seem to have such problems, did they?
The truth is they did. However, back then, people were worried about wars and diseases, rather than flat feet or cholesterol. On the same note, the modern individual faces a series of biomechanical problems these days. The terrain might look more advanced, but it is hard to navigate. You walk on soft surfaces inside your house, then go on flat concrete and move on to a hard surface in the gym. Shoes are not always designed with healthy standards in mind either. All these things together contribute to a series of modern issues.
The good news is human feet can easily adapt to pretty much any situation in no time. This is how it worked thousands of years ago – it was a necessity. These days, it is all about fashion. You wear the wrong shoes just because they are trendy. You feel uncomfortable, but at least you look good. All these risks will cause drama on your skeletal system.
As basic as they seem, insoles will help you overcome these problems. Their main role is to absorb shocks heading towards the heels. The stress your bodyweight puts on the heels will be transmitted to the insoles, which spread over the entire surface of your feet. Instead of having everything hit the heel, they evenly distribute the tension around.
Insoles will also correct the way your feet work. There are multiple factors that can lead to overpronation or oversupination. It becomes an instinct – a harmful one. Correcting it yourself can be impossible, hence the necessity of insoles.
Bottom line, everyone could use some insoles – even those with new shoes or those who do not experience any painful sensations at all.
Buying insoles can be a daunting job because they are just so diversified. It could be confusing, yet your primary necessity should tell you which way to go. Do you want to fix or prevent a medical issue? It might be a good idea to get in touch with your specialist doctor for a more specific recommendation. Are you looking for extra cushioning and comfort? As long as the insoles are soft and comfy, you can go ahead and get them.
The custom route is even easier because a professional will handle the entire process for you – take measurements of your feet and design the right shape.
Now, apart from their uses, roles and benefits, insoles can also be categorized based on their rigidity. Supportive insoles can be soft, rigid or semi-rigid. Which option is the best and what can it help with?
Soft support insoles represent the most efficient shock absorbers out there. Their soft profile makes them comfortable and easy to get along with. They are also indicated in fixing balance problems. They can take all the pressure off sore points without even feeling them. Soft support insoles weight nothing and can be foam or gel based.
Rigid support insoles are quite technical and they work on everything under the ankle. Their main role is to prevent the excessive pronation. Such insoles are made from materials like microfiber, foam, ABS and polyurethane plastic. They are common in the custom industry, which means they are helpful against severe issues.
This type is between rigid and soft support insoles. They are often used by sports people and contain leather, cork, plastic and foam. High end alternatives can be quite pricey.
In the end, a little education can seriously lead you in the right direction. Unless you need insoles for comfort, your specialist doctor should be able to provide more detailed answers to any of your questions.
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