THE NEED FOR PERFORMANCE
Pain after sports can range from acute sprains and strains, to chronic degenerative injuries. Lower extremity biomechanics is a major part of podiatric care; podiatrists can advise on and treat your foot and ankle musculoskeletal problems through our unique perspective.
Orthopaedic surgeons often work with Podiatry for non-surgical treatment of repetitive stress injuries, or for post-operative rehabilitation. We work closely with accredited physiotherapists and bicycle outfitters for Singapore’s sports biomechanics needs.
Running is one of the most participated sports in Singapore, highly strenuous on the body especially the lower limbs. The demands on the body depends on the type of running (i.e. distance running, trail running, or sprinting) and the foot striking pattern (i.e. forefoot, midfoot or rearfoot strike). Certain foot postures can cause more strain to other surrounding joints and soft tissue; injury is avoidable and peak performance is achievable when the bio-mechanical discrepancies are corrected.
Customized running orthotics are specially designed for runners to help resolve their foot posture imbalances and prevent certain soft tissue overcompensation that could lead to overuse injuries during running, while being light as a feather and fitting easily into their preferred running shoes. Your podiatrist will be able to address the biomechanical defects and optimise the running gait by using customised sports orthotics. Once the feet are propped into a mechanically ideal position, it will lessen unnecessary physcal strain and boost sports performance.
Cycling is a competitive physical sport which requires synergy between the cyclist and the bicycle. To achieve the best performance, cyclists will often have their bikes fitted according to their body biomechanics, cycling ergonomics, and aerodynamics.
The foot is the primary interface with the machine; the maximum speed is determined by the power of the paddle stroke. However, poor cycling biomechanics can lead to many lower limb complications. The most common one is knee injury.
With the advancement of technology and 3D imaging, cycling foot orthotics can now be as thin as only 1.9mm by using lightweight, high-durability carbon fibre composite material. These can be inserted into the cycling shoes to reposition the foot, ankle and knee alignment. An ideal alignment of the lower limb during cycling will minimise unnecessary work and overcompensation by affect joints and muscles, enhancing the performance results and cycling experience for the wearer.
Golf is a sport which involves rotational movement, power and swiftness. Unlike running where the motion of both lower limbs are almost identical, a golfer’s movement emphasises the twisting motion of one foot while the other foot acts as a stationary pivot.
Golf is challenging for an individual with bad foot posture: A poor foundation leads to a poor swing, always losing useful energy due to overcompensation of the body’s joints. This also eventually leads to muscle strains and overuse injuries.
The above considerations make golf orthotics unique and different from most other sports insoles. The orthotic design is aimed at reassigning pressure distribution under the feet, increasing balance and leverage, and enhancing the proprioceptive effect in golfers. This in turn allows better phases of swing by reducing energy wastage or subconscious overcompensation of the body. Ultimately, this will also reduce the risk of injuries to the feet, knees and lower back.
Author: Podiatrist Louis LOY
Editor: Principal Podiatrist Michael LAI