A few decades ago, scientists used to say that the human body is the perfect machine. Truth is, our bodies have been perfected by millions of years of evolution and have reached quite a good level of complexity and adaptability. The very structure that supports us is like an architectural design and, in fact, it uses many of the principles that would later be applied to architecture in order to support buildings many stories tall.
The ostheoartromuscular system is what supports our weight as well as allows us to move. We have hard pillars, called bones, points of movement which are the joints, and elastic tissue like tendons that help us absorb the impact and keep our posture. Muscles also help supporting our body by providing the tension and strength needed to hold everything in position.
As we are bipedal beings, our body weight often lies on our feet. They are thus constructed in a way that is meant to support forces properly. Not only do they take all our body weight, but they will also take the impact of steps, jumps and many other movements of the like. They must be strong, flexible and have the right shape.
In order to fulfill their function, our feet have an arch structure that helps distribute and hold the weight. The rest of the bones and ligaments on our body's axis - our legs, our pelvis, our spine and neck - also have a special shape to distribute and support weight.
Of course, nothing is perfect, not even the human body. Some of us can have structural problems with our bones or ligaments; perhaps our muscles aren't strong enough, or joints cede too much, or ligaments stretch more or less than they should. All of these problems threaten the overall posture of our bodies and the way they can take the weight and impact forces of our movements.
The most important part of this system is our feet, because they are the base on which everything else lies. If our feet are bent, weak or damaged, all our skeleton will bend as well, our joints will be overcharged and the muscles won't be able to do their job properly. Not only can this cause painful conditions, but our tissues can become damaged. Many injuries that are associated with physical activity of some kind are more frequent when the body structure isn't at its best.
As we have stated, feet are the base of all our body, like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is strong, the house can hold in place; if the foundation is crooked or weakened, the building could fall down.
Orthotic insoles are supportive surfaces that are shaped as the feet should be, so when we lie our feet on them, they adopt the right posture. Orthotic insoles are used mostly for fallen arches, which is a very common cause of foot and body pain, and it also increases the risk of sport injuries. As the shape of an arch is best to support weight - architects know that and have been using them for buildings and bridges for a long time - flat foot is the cause of bad support and posture issues.
For these cases, orthotics help prevent running injuries. However, they have more use than just prevention. As improper support increases the strain on feet and leg tissue, orthotic insoles can be helpful with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis or other conditions of the like. Of course, feet support the rest of the body, so orthotics can also help with low back pain, knee pain, shin splints and other painful conditions caused because jonts are at unnatural angles due to lack of proper basal support.
Many companies like Footlogics offers orthotic solutions for all conditions, from prevention to treatment of existing problems. Orthotic insoles rarely need a special prescription, so any standard insole should be good for you. However, you must be sure not to overuse them. Your feet are naturally meant to support your body properly and take the impact of physical activities and normal walking. Abusing of orthotic insoles will cause the feet to relax and loose their muscular tone, because they become accustomed to the external support of the insole. Walking barefoot has been often reported as the best way to have a good arch structure and foot shape. However, orthotics can help relief acute painful conditions and protect you from injuries if you already have flat foot.
Best thing that you can do is go to a podiatrist to get your feet checked. The professional should tell you whether or not you need insoles and where to get them if so.
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