Insoles are devises inserted in shoes to promote the correct alignment of the feet. They can be used for a variety of different conditions but it is essential that they are correctly prescribed to optimise their performance.
Some of the conditions that may be treated using an insole:
1. Achilles tendonitis is a relatively common condition caused by overuse of the achilles tendon. Therefore, it is often experienced by those who participate in sports involving lots of running and jumping. Repetitive use of the calf muscles and, therefore, the achilles tendon can cause microscopic tears within the tendon. The body then commences an inflammatory response to repair these tears. The initial inflammatory response is part of the normal healing process, however, because the stresses are repeated and the inflammation is prolonged it causes local tissue damage. Many factors can contribute to an individual developing achilles tendonitis, including recent changes in training (frequency, duration, intensity, training surfaces), reduced rest times, biomechanical abnormalities, poor footwear, and decreased muscle flexibility and joint range of movement.
2. Over pronated feet (flat feet)
3. The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the bases of the toes and supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis an injury commonly caused by overuse that triggers swelling of the plantar fascia at its attachment site on the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis usually causes pain on the inside edge of the heel. Physiotherapy is an important treatment for plantar fasciitis.
4. Inflammation on the arches of the feet
5. Corns/Bunions (or hallux valgus) are a condition that affects the ball of the foot. It is a malalignment of the bones which make up the big toe joint. The big toe gradually points towards the second toe. This deviation creates an increasingly prominent ‘bump’ on the inside of the foot. Over time this ‘bump’ may get bigger and this is called a ‘bunion’. Physiotherapy can effectively treat bunions.
6. Hammer toes/ Mallet toes
7. Metatarsalgia is a term used to describe a general pain in the ball of the foot area on the metatarsal heads (where the toes meet the ball of the foot). This can occur in one or more of the metatarsal heads. There are many factors which can cause Metatarsalgia some of which can include:
Overweight (additional strain being placed through the joint)
Wearing high heeled shoes
Pes cavus (high arched foot)
8. Shin splints (also known as tenoperiostitis) refers to inflammation occurring where tendons attach to the shin bone. Physiotherapy is an important treatment for shin splints.
Shin splints are caused by overuse. Tendons attach to the shin bone via a layer of connecting tissue that lies over the bone. This tissue is called the periosteum. When muscles contract, they pull on their tendons which, in turn, pull on the periosteum. With overuse, altered biomechanics or muscle tightness, this pulling can damage the periosteum. The body starts to repair this damage by commencing an inflammatory response.
9. The metatarsal bones are the five long bones of the foot. A Morton’s neuroma is an enlarged nerve in the space between the third and fourth metatarsal bones. Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for a Morton’s neuroma. The exact cause of a Morton’s neuroma is unknown. It is caused by the compression of the nerve that runs between the third and fourth metatarsal bones. It is more common in individuals with flat feet and in women. Flat feet can increase the pressure on the nerve and cause irritation of it. It is thought that Morton’s neuroma is more common in women than men because women wear tight fitting footwear more often. High heels also cause more weight to be passed through the forefoot and they are often tight fitting across the forefoot.
Anyone can benefit from the use of insoles, not just sports performers, these benefits are:
Promotes normal alignment
Maintains the integrity of the ligaments, tendons and muscles of the foot
Improves walking/running efficiency
Improves gait pattern
Helps you to return to hobbies or sports
Greater use out of footwear
Reduce risk of sprains and other ankle injuries