The human ankle is an engineering miracle. For many of us our ankles sustain our body wait moving at speed over 10,000 times per day. There are also those of us who do many times that mileage with some endurance sport and still the ankle holds up.
We take millions of steps per year and our full body weight loads into the ankle with each and every one of them. If your body didn’t have the ability to constantly repair and regenerate your connective tissues your ankle would agonisingly break down to fine powder inside 6 months…. with shoe inserts or custom orthotics however they might last a whole year !!
The value of shoe inserts and custom orthotics for ankle support is dictated by the way our feet interact with the ground when we are barefoot in the outdoors.
Unlike concrete and paving, most natural surfaces have some give to them that supports the arch. The easiest time to see what shoe inserts do for ankle support is when you observe your footprints on the beach, each footprint contains an arch support made of sand. It is natural for the human foot to have arch support.
Beaches and shoe inserts are not the only means of support for the ankles however. The muscles of the foot & ankle work with the muscles of the knee and hips to assist with ankle support when we stand, walk and run.
The best shoe inserts for ankle support are usually customised to fit the specific needs of your foot. It is also helpful if shoe inserts for ankle support are reasonably strong while still remaining flexible. The ankle and the arch are living tissues so shoe inserts need to have some dynamic flex, gone are the days of rigid shoes inserts for ankle and arch support.
Generic shoe inserts for ankle support that you can buy ‘off the shelf’ are also often helpful, although they are obviously not as effective as custom orthotics made to suit your specific needs in full. Often generic shoe inserts for ankle support are too flexible and easily depressed.
When you are assessing any prospective pair of ‘off the shelf’ shoe inserts for ankle support always remember that those things are going to need to support your entire body weight moving at speed! If you can depress a shoe insert you intend to use for ankle support with your finger it isn’t going to support your body weight.
Whether you invest in custom orthotics or you settle for off the shelf inserts the important thing is that you try to wear them as much as possible. I meet a staggering number of people who only wear their inserts for ankle and arch support at certain times. The only time I recommend you don’t wear your inserts for ankle support is when you are barefoot at the beach or in nature on soft ground.
Whenever we are on concrete there is a need for support in the arch and the ankle, there is also a need for shock absorption. By consistently wearing your custom orthotics or inserts for ankle support you can reduce not only pain but the stresses associated with wear and tear in your joints.
At our clinic we provide both custom orthotics for ankle support and market leading shoe insoles at a much more affordable price. We also provide exercise prescription that carefully targets the major muscles groups that provide natural ankle support.