It is a well known fact that the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles of the body will function most efficiently when they are in physical balance/congruency.
Principles of engineering have shown that with any physical entity, whether it is a bridge, a building, or the human body— Structure dictates function.
The body is made up of a complex network of joints, where abnormal movements at one line, or joint, can interfere with proper movements at other joints, leading to ‘compensation’.
During standing, walking, running and other sports, our bodies are subjected to numerous natural forces and postures that can inflict mechanical stress and strain throughout the chain of joints and muscles.
When a foot imbalance is present, there is a negative impact on the knees, hips, pelvis, and spine. Not surprisingly, some patients must have these abnormal forces reduced/corrected before they can achieve ideal bodily function.
Understanding Pronation

Pronation describes the rotation of a body part downward or inward. It is actually a normal motion that occurs when walking – approx 4-6 degrees is said to be ideal; however, if it happens excessively, pronation can cause global postural problems and injury by placing undue stress on the body’s various joints and musculature.
How exactly does this occur?

A drop and drift of the arch will cause a flattening and rolling in of the foot— this is termed pronation. Because everything is connected, the bones of the leg also inwardly rotate.
Excessive rotation of the bones of the leg (tibia and femur) will cause unnecessary stresses on the knee as well as twisting of the pelvis and spine. If the pronation is more prevalent on one side, there can be a resultant un-levelling of the pelvis and a functional scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Tilting of the pelvis places tension on muscles and connective tissues, not surprisingly, this can eventually lead to chronic back problems.

Benefits of Custom Orthotics:

Wearing Custom Orthotics inside your shoes is similar to placing a shim beneath the leg of a wobbly table: it adds support to eliminate unwanted motion in the entire structure.
The foot is formed of three distinct arches, which create an architectural vault. The result of supporting these three arches is improved stability and postural integrity.
Custom orthotics designed by a Sports Medicine Podiatrist encourages optimal muscle and nerve function by guiding the feet through a more normal pattern with each step taken.

Properly fitted customised orthotics from Auckland Sports Podiatry have numerous benefits.
  • Reduce Injury
  • Improve Performance
  • Enhance Circulation
  • Increase Balance
Reduce injury

The bones in your body are by far the strongest tissue right? So it makes perfect sense to strategically align them, in a way that evenly spreads pressure, thereby ensuring the skeleton bears the vast majority of stress. This is key, as a misaligned skeleton would inevitably result in the various softer tissues becoming stressed. For example, when your foot collapses and rolls in (therefore becoming misaligned), the body’s associated ligaments, tendons and muscles will no doubt become stressed and aggravated. This aggravation and increase in demand leads to higher tissue tensile loading and risk of strain - significantly increasing your chance of injury.
That is, the greater amount of tissue stress and strain, the more likely it is to then become fatigued to a point where tissue integrity is lost, and minor or major tissue damage results.
Therefore, by preventing the misalignment from occurring in the first place (achieved with a strong customised orthotic device), you’ll be able to reduce the excessive tissue loading and damage.

Improve performance

This concept is simple. As mentioned above, when the body is misaligned, the various tissues become subject to greater stress. This also results in the body’s protective mechanism of joint security via numerous muscle contracture – aimed at limiting any damage from occurring.
Now, when this contracture takes place, the body inevitably uses a greater amount of effort and energy. The catch, however, is that this energy used to prevent these various joint movements from occurring, can significantly drain your energy levels. This drain in energy would inevitably reduce your capacity to maintain a high degree of prolonged performance.
Put another way, the greater amount of excessive joint motion occurring in your body, the greater amount of muscle contracture and therefore energy used.
It is this reason that people with misalignments often suffer from greater fatigue during exercise bouts.
So, what do you do about it? Well, if your lifestyle results in fatigue from time to time (especially significant for recreational or serious athletes), it is in your best interest that you are not ‘wasting’ precious energy as a result of any misalignments. The good news is that every degree of excessive motion can be addressed with ease. In a lot of cases, shoes alone can help these days, however, should they not provide enough alignment, obviously you need more control – measured out and treated effectively by a professional Sports Medicine Podiatrist at ASP.

Enhance Circulation

People are often surprised to hear that orthotics can help enhance circulation. The reality is that the process is quite simple.
You see, normal walking and running places a large amount of impact and negative pressure (in a blood flow context) on the feet and lower limbs, resulting in a difficult transfer of blood from the feet back to the heart. If you think about your foot touching the ground at impact, most of the direct pressure is transmitted through your heel and forefoot, while the blood stays somewhat idle within the lower leg until the ‘calf muscle pump’ takes effect in the later phase of the gait cycle (toe-off). However, should there be an effective device placed under the arch and point of impact, as you can imagine, the venous (blood) pressure would now significantly increase in the foot, as the pressures are distributed throughout the whole underside of the foot, thereby creating a large increase in blood pressure and therefore encouraging blood flow back to the heart. This process is commonly referred to the ‘arch pump’.
Increase Balance

As you know, a great deal of the foot is off the ground while you stand, some say more than half of the surface area of the underside (sole) is not utilised during normal gait.
Knowing that the arch holds numerous nerve endings (which are far more sensitive than the heel and ball of your foot), it makes perfect sense that touching the arch significantly improves your body’s awareness in space, otherwise known as proprioception or balance.
So, by touching your arch with an orthotic device made specifically for your feet, do you think it’s a good thing in the context of balance? You bet.
In no time you’ll feel more stable and confident in your ability to keep balance with the help of Auckland Sports Podiatry.