Orthotics – Athlete’s Arsenal of Tools

It is time to get in a practice or a workout.  Place your gear into your gym bag and let’s go.

What tools are in your gym bag in order to achieve an optimum workout?  Shorts, shirts, under clothing, a couple pairs of socks, sweat shirt, sweat pants, sport-specific shoes, a water bottle filled with water or your favorite sport drink, and snacks of some sort are the mainstay of the athlete’s arsenal of tools.

Did you remember the other gear as well?  Things like mouth guard, knee pads, knee braces, ankle braces, wrist wraps, weight lifting belts, chalk, lifting gloves, athletic tape, extra set of eye glasses or contacts, towels, soap, shampoo, deodorant, tooth brush and tooth paste, floss, fingernail clipper, wallet, money,  cell phone, student ID, music device, and earbuds.  So you have taken your time to pack your bag with all your essentials or, in other words, your arsenal of tools.

You are now ready to have an optimal performance.  You have spent a small fortune to supply all the gear in your bag.  But wait, what about actually making sure the shoes that cost you a hundred-plus dollars contain the optimum foot bed?  The shoes came with sport foot insoles, so what? Why should you care about that?

Coaches are always talking about your foot position.  Are your feet lined up correctly to move fast or quickly?   Are your feet ready to propel and accelerate you in the direction you want to go?  Is your body leaning in at the proper angle for agile and accurate movement?  Do you have a strong foundation?  If your foundation or base position are off, your performance will be off as well.

As it turns out, the supplied insoles of your expensive sport shoes are worth less than one dollar.  How is it possible for you to expect them to properly or adequately support your feet during your strenuous activities, let alone walking around?  Let me answer the question: They will supply a minimal amount of short-term cushioning.  Beyond that, you will need proper support and foot guidance.  A properly custom-made and fitted pair of foot orthotics will give you what you need.

All athletes are prone to injury, some more than others, from training alone. This is due to:  1) the volume of training they perform on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, 2) the intensity of their training, 3) the surface or surfaces of their training, 4) the amount of G-forces the athlete must absorb during each foot landing and 5) the amount of proper support, or lack thereof, coming from their shoes, insoles, feet, ankles, lower legs, knee bends and up through the chain of their bodies.

Why take a chance on risking injury when an ounce of prevention is utilized by being properly fitted with a pair or two of custom-made foot orthotics, which will ease the burden of worry.  As an athlete you must believe that proper preparation prevents poor performance, both on the field of play and within the physical training.  Therefore, it makes sense to take a few simple steps to avoid injury and get fitted for a pair of custom foot orthotics before the game begins.

Your arsenal of tools, in order to help you perform at the highest level of competition, must also be of the highest quality you can find.  Performance demands good quality, which is not found in cheaply made tools.  In fact, cheaply made tools will have a negative effect on your performance.  Seek and find the best tools for your chosen sport.  Remember your feet, ankles, lower legs and knees need to be pain-free in order to perform at optimum levels.

Get your Most Valuable Foot Tools, properly fitted customized foot orthotics.  They will be made specifically for your athletic footwear.  They will be made just for your feet and your feet only.  They are not some off-the-shelf, generic foot bed.  Everyone’s feet are different. Your orthotics will require close evaluation and customization in order to keep you performing optimally each and every day.

About the author:  John Hajewski is a certified strength and conditioning professional with more than 30 years of experience in the areas of health and fitness. He holds a master’s degree in Physical Education and has taught at both high school and college levels. He has served as strength and conditioning coach at University of Wisconsin Whitewater’s Division 3 football and volleyball programs. Hajewski is the author of “How to Make Your Volleyball Court a Conditioning Facility”. He has presented to the National Volleyball Coaches convention numerous times, speaking on speed, agility, and quickness development for volleyball players. Hajewski is also the owner of TopSpeed Training in River Falls, WI.

North Star Podiatric Lab is an ABC-Certified manufacturing facility. Our mission is to provide quality prescription foot orthotics that conform to technical standards as defined by the Prescription Foot Orthotics Laboratory Association. The goal of this letter is to provide you with information useful to your professional practice. If at any time you have questions related to topics on foot care, orthotics and balance, please share your comments by contacting http://www.northstarpodiatriclab.com/contact.

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