It's a Matter of Seconds

Published: 2011-08-02 08:36:52
Author: Dr. Steve Rosenberg

  To get your feet on and off the ground as an athlete -- whether you are running for a fly ball, hitting a jump shot, hitting a tennis ball, fielding a grounder, intercepting a pass, picking off a runner at first, hitting or running to any base -- takes a matter of seconds. The quicker your feet move, the greater chance you have for achieving success. Agility, movement, speed are all about your feet being biomechanically balanced. While quick and stable feet create positive outcomes, a foot that is unstable wobbles from side to side. Whatever type of athlete you are, staying balanced will improve your success.

A major reason why a player's feet are not stable is because they are not properly balanced. This is because of abnormal pronation and can be defined as instability of the joints in the middle of the foot (the mid-tarsal and subtalar joints). Although pronation is normal and every foot pronates, excess or abnormal pronation is not. Abnormal pronation causes a player's medial longitudinal arch or inner arch to stay collapsed throughout their entire movement cycle whether they are standing in the batter's box or standing on the mound getting ready to pitch. It also affects the foot when running to field a ball or stealing a base. Runners and tennis, basketball and football players are also affected by abnormal pronation issues in the foot. The plantar muscles in the foot fatigue because of continual repetitive activity of the arch collapsing during movement and become vulnerable to injury

Players can control abnormal foot pronation and improve their foot biomechanics by placing an arch support or a custom-made orthotic in their baseball, running, soccer, tennis and basketball shoes or football cleats. Orthotic foot supports should be placed in the shoes to provide the proper balance the foot needs to achieve better biomechanical balance and stability. All shoes are designed to protect the foot and give the player better shock absorption, traction and stability. Baseball players will benefit from this when pitching, running/stealing, fielding or hitting. Runners will be more stable during foot placement, soccer players will be more stable when running, tennis players will notice better stability when attacking the ball, basketball players will be able to set their feet better and football players will stay more balanced in their stance and get a quick first step.

Athletic shoes consists of many different parts with specific functions. They are not designed to biomechanically support the foot or prevent abnormal foot pronation. They also brake down over time and to be replaced.