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Can Orthotics Help Athletic Performance?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re skating for the Golden Knights or lining up along the gym wall for team selection at your pickup basketball game. If you’re a competitor, you’ll look for any edge to improve your game!

New shoes. Lightweight gear. Putting in all those hours of practice. Studying your opponent to identify weaknesses in their game. Setting up a diet plan—and actually sticking to it.

Are we missing anything?

For many athletes—more than you might think—custom orthotics should be near the top of the list.

Surprised? Don’t be.  These handy shoe inserts aren’t just about relieving pain and discomfort in your feet—they can also help bring out the best in your game.

Can orthotics help athletic performance?

Feet: The Forgotten Component of "Natural Talent"

In sports, we talk a lot about natural talent and athleticism versus training and development. To succeed at the very top of your sport, you need a combination of both: good genes and unbeatable work ethic.

In other words, anybody can be a skilled basketball player if they train hard enough—but if you’re only 5’6”, you’re going to need a lot of extra skill to outperform somebody who is 6’10”!

It’s obvious to see how a lack of height might hold back a basketball player, of course. Structurally deficient feet might be a less obvious problem, but it can still make a huge difference!

For example, if you have naturally flat feet, you might experience a variety of symptoms. Chronic pain and soreness are more common. Ankles may be less stable and more at risk of injury due to overpronation. Knees and hips might also be pulled out of their most biomechanically efficient alignment to compensate for the issues with your foundation.

These and other problems can sap your energy on the court or field, reduce your range of motion and agility, limit the amount of force you can generate when you jump, hit, or tackle. All because your feet aren’t working as efficiency as they could be.

But while there’s no way to make an adult basketball player taller, there is a way to make your feet and legs more biomechanically efficient:

Orthotics.

How Orthotics Can Improve Your Game

We won’t lie to you, of course. It’s not like simply putting on a pair orthotics is going to magically fix your backhand or cause you to immediately start draining all your free throws. But they can provide some significant benefits for athletes of all ages and abilities—especially those who play frequently.

Here are a handful of the most powerful and obvious advantage that a good pair of custom orthotics can bring to your game.

Train Harder

Whoever said “no pain, no gain” didn’t have it quite right.

When your feet are out of alignment or operating inefficiently, aches and pains come a lot quicker. That’s true not just of the feet, but the knees, legs, back—like a wobbly tower of Jenga blocks, everything “above” the feet is affected by what’s happening below.

When you’re in pain, obviously, you can’t push yourself as long and hard as you otherwise would. But when pain isn’t holding you back, you can train longer and harder without fatigue. Your orthotics can reduce stress and shear on feet, absorb shocks, and more. That means greater and faster competitive improvement.

Improve Speed, Balance, and Agility

Sports require a lot from your feet. You need to be nimble enough to cut around a defender, change directions on a dime, or shift laterally on the tennis court.

At the same time, you need your feet to act as an effective springboard to propel you forward at top speed, or launch yourself into the air to dunk a basketball or clear a high bar.

When your feet and legs are out of alignment, your ability to cleanly and efficiently transfer weight and force suffer. Speed and agility suffer. But when your orthotics are helping control your motion and improving biomechanics throughout the body, you can more easily reach your athletic potential.

Reduce Your Injury Risk

Of course, nothing can shut down your game quite like blowing out your Achilles tendon or spraining your ankle. When you ignore chronic pain just a little too long, or simply land awkwardly and twist a joint a little further than you should, you could be out of commission for a while.

By providing the shock absorption, stability, and motion control that your feet need, athletic orthotics can drastically reduce the rate of both traumatic and overuse injuries suffered on the field or court.

An array of sports equipment on a field

Let Us Help You (and Your Feet) with Your Game

Are pain, fatigue, and chronic injury keeping you from playing the sport you love to the best of your ability? Are you looking to take the next step in your game but held back by feet that just won’t cooperate?

If so, give the Absolute Foot Care Specialists a call. We love helping athletes reach their maximum potential. In addition to fitting you for the right pair of sports orthotics, we can also provide advanced treatment and injury relief (such as extracorporeal pulse activation treatment, or EPAT). We can even help you find the right pair of shoes or cleats to complement your game.

To schedule with our office today, please give us a call at (702) 839-2010.

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