CYBER WEEK | BUY 1, GET 1 50% OFF! CYBER WEEK | BUY 1, GET 1 50% OFF!
Home / News

News

BEST INSOLES FOR TENNIS

Hello, my name is David Herr and I’ve had a tennis racquet in my hand since I was four years old. I also played hockey and soccer as a kid and, later in life, picked up the game of golf, a sport that has some of the most unnatural body movements of any you can play. In my youth, I won the Kansas 5A State Championship and played D-1 at the University of Tulsa. Currently, I play two to three times a week on both hard and clay courts. Playing this much tennis, this often, I was really looking for tennis insoles that could provide my feet relief and improve my game.

KEEPING UP WITH THE DEMANDS

Now that I am in my 40s, I’ve started to pay more attention to my physical fitness, what my body may be trying to tell me, and I do a lot of research to find new products or advice that can help me with my conditioning. Over the past decade, tennis has evolved into a sport of high physical demand. Children and women can now serve the ball over 100 miles per hour and players hit groundstrokes with more topspin and with much greater pace. Because of these demands, I’m looking for anything that will help me keep my game at a high level even as I’m getting older.

TENNIS INJURIES ON THE RISE

Tennis is one of the few sports that people can play throughout their lives. Today, more and more seniors are active tennis players. Along with this has come an increase in lower extremity injuries. Tennis players are very similar to most weekend warriors in other sports such as running, cross-training, racquetball, and basketball. It is very difficult to slow them down even when they become injured.

Tennis involves a lot of foot work. Foot and ankle injuries occur from the continuous side-to-side and quick stopping and starting motions the sport requires. The type of playing surface is also a factor with hard courts being much less forgiving than clay courts. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, “overuse and excessive training can lead to heel pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains and stress fractures.” Since adding golf to my repertoire, I have suffered from lower back issues, tightness, and intermittent pain. I have used a chiropractor at times to relieve and alleviate this pain.  In the past few years I have been using a personal trainer to help strengthen my lower back muscles and glutes to provide greater support, strength and flexibility to my back and core. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine advises, “above all, listen to your body. Persistent minor aches and pains are not normal and will become aggravated if ignored or neglected. Proper care of the whole body, and especially the foot and ankle, will make tennis and other racquet sports a healthy part of life for people of all ages.”

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FEET

Recently, I’ve been paying much more attention to my feet, how they feel on the court and how they feel off the court or the next day. I had never used orthotics or shoe insoles before and always thought my foot discomfort was just a part of getting older, but figured it was worth giving them a try. So, I started trying different over the counter products that I found either on-line or at my neighborhood pharmacy. None of them seemed to make much difference and most of them didn’t hold up very well. I even tried one of those new 3D printed insoles, but they were very rigid, uncomfortable, and unforgiving on the court.

Then I came across a product called SelectFlex. Immediately after putting them in my shoes I could feel a difference. These insoles provide great arch support, and foot and ankle alignment I’d never experienced before. Without a doubt, SelectFlex has given me an edge with painless play and increased performance. The relief I now feel in my back and all down my legs is incredible. I can more aggressively push off from side to side, I feel lighter on the court and I’m getting to balls I never used to be able to get to. Today, I won’t step on the court without having them in my shoes.

I could not have found these insoles at a better time in my life, except maybe to have found them 25 years ago! I have been so impressed with them that I bought all my tennis buddies each a set for Christmas.

My advice is to listen to what your body may be trying to tell you. Don’t ignore aches and pains that never go away. And if you love the game of tennis, or any other sport for that matter, that requires a lot of movement, pay attention to your feet. They are the foundation of your entire body and they deserve proper support and alignment in order to keep you healthy and active doing the things you love most.

Don't ignore foot pain any longer. Learn more about what SelectFlex can do for your game.

TIPS FOR RUNNING WITH FLAT FEET

Running has always been an important element of my fitness and cardio workout routine. I am not what you would consider to be a “serious” runner. I don’t do marathons or even 10k runs. I’m your basic weekend warrior out for a three-mile jog, three to four times a week. My feet are low arched, not quite flat feet but not normal either. And I am now in my 50’s so I’m beginning to feel the effects of all the pounding that my feet and lower extremities have taken over the years. If you’re a runner with flat feet, or nearly flat feet like me, this post has a few tips for you to reduce pain and keep running longer.

When somebody has flat feet, their foot has very little or no arch at all, compared to a person with normal feet and arches. There are several types of flat feet, all of which have one common characteristic, loss of the arch through partial or total collapse. Flexible flat feet are the most common type of flat foot. It usually occurs in both feet and progresses in severity throughout the adult years. Rigid flatfoot, while least common, is the most painful type and is usually associated with inflammation and complications with the tarsal bones of the feet.

INJURIES FROM RUNNING WITH FLAT FEET

It should not be surprising that many running injuries are foot-related as the foot, and the arches of the foot, are the first part of the body to absorb the shock of each step. Even for casual runners like me, this impact can add up over time. The forces absorbed by your feet while running are between three and seven times your body weight. That means the foot of a 150-pound runner absorbs 1,000 pounds or more of force for each foot strike.

In a Runner’s World article, Dr. Lloyd Smith, a sports podiatrist and past president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, said, “A lot of people who run, and run successfully, have flat feet. Yet we do know that people with flat feet have a greater chance of getting injured than people with normal-arched feet.” If you have flat feet, your entire sole comes into full contact with the ground putting strain on your ankles, muscles, ligaments and joints. Overtime, the uneven distribution of body weight can cause other types of overuse injuries. As a result, you may experience a general aching or fatigue in the foot or leg after running. Pain in the heel, arch, ankle or along the outside of the foot are also common. Over time there are various problems that can be caused by running with flat feet, including pain along the shin bone (shin splints), lower back, hip, and knee.

TIPS FOR RUNNING WITH FLAT FEET

  • Choose the correct running shoes. This is key for runners with flat feet. Motion control running shoes are good for runners with rigid flat feet, as this type of shoe will control your running motion and prevent any wrong movements. Stability running shoes are better for runners with flexible flat feet since they provide supportive features in the mid-sole area, specifically under the arch of the foot.
  • Avoid running on uneven surfaces. When you have flat feet, your feet turn outward when you run, putting additional pressure on your ankles and knee joints. Uneven ground can accentuate your pronation problem and make matters worse.
  • Support your ankles and feet when running. A recent LIVESTRONG article entitled “How To Run With Flat Feet” recommends adding orthotic arch support inserts into your running shoes. “Arch support insoles prevent your feet from overpronating when you run, giving extra support to the foot and ankle. The type of orthotic you need depends on the severity of your condition.”

One thing I’ve learned is that gel inserts don’t cut it when it comes to running with flat feet. I tried nearly every kind on the market. It’s why I decided to try a firm arch support. I went with SelectFlex because it’s customizable, allowing me to adjust the level of support I need. The results were really remarkable, but not surprising. A gel insole just isn’t capable of giving you the kind of support an adjustable, firm footbed can. With SelectFlex, my arches feel well supported and my ankles and feet feel better aligned. This has resulted in less overall foot fatigue after my run and a more rapid recovery, so I can get out there and hit the pavement the next day feeling more refreshed. What a great idea.

If you're looking to run farther with less pain, why not give SelectFlex a try?

HOW CAN I REDUCE JOINT PAIN CAUSED BY FLAT FEET

The human foot has 33 joints that hold together 26 different bones and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The arches of the feet provide the spring to your step and help to distribute body weight and all its compressive forces across your feet and legs. The structure of the foot arch determines how a person walks and needs to be both sturdy and flexible.

WHAT ARE FLAT FEET?

Flat feet, also known as pes planus or fallen arches, is a postural deformity that occurs when the arch of the foot collapses and comes into complete or near-complete contact with the ground. This condition may occur at the time of birth or develop over time as a result of aging or injury. Flat feet can usually be self-diagnosed, either by the “wet footprint test” or the “shoe inspection test.” Simply wet your feet and look at the wet imprint of your foot. The thicker the imprint between the heel and ball of the foot, the flatter the foot. By contrast, a high arch foot will only show your heel and the top part of your foot near your toes.

Similarly, if you inspect your shoes and see more wear on the inside of the soles, that would be evidence of flat feet. The shoe’s upper will also tend to lean inward over the sole as a result of the faulty foot mechanics. Flat feet are typically associated with excessive pronation of the foot. Overpronation occurs when the arch of the foot descends downward and inward as the foot strikes the ground. This overpronation causes the foot to be less able to absorb shock, placing greater stress on the feet, ankles, and knees.

FLAT FEET SYMPTOMS

If you are having problems with shin splints, back pain, your knees, or hips, you may want to consider looking at your feet as the cause. When you walk, you put as much as five times your body weight in force on each foot. If your foot doesn’t absorb that shock properly, it can cause other problems, and is why people with flat feet typically experience pain in the midfoot region.

If you have flat feet, your foot will tend to roll inward as you walk. That extra motion can create other stresses further up your legs. This pain tends to increase with activity and may also present swelling along the inner ankle and arch, as well as hip, knee, and lower back pain. Flat feet can also lead to tendinitis in your Achilles tendon because that tendon must over-compensate when you push off with your feet.

Overpronation can put unnecessary stress on your knees. When your foot over-pronates, your leg rotates inward causing the knee to flex and extend while pointing inward. This is not the normal direction for the knee and puts additional stress on the joint. Overpronation can also affect the hip joints. When the foot pronates, the leg rotates inward and the hip joints can become misaligned. This condition puts additional stress on the hip and on the entire leg muscles.

TREATMENTS FOR FLAT FEET

The treatment for flat feet, and joint pain associated with having flat feet, can vary. Physicians typically recommend a conservative approach, with surgery reserved for only the most server cases.

PROPER FOOTWEAR

Healthy footwear can play a significant role in reducing knee and hip pain associated with flat feet. High heels increase the risk of knee joint degeneration so try to always wear low-heeled shoes. However, flat shoes also need to be carefully considered as many do not provide adequate arch support and that can lead to knee, hip, and back pain.

When shopping for footwear, take the time to find a proper-fitting shoe as tight shoes can create foot pain and oversized shoes can affect your gait. Stability sneakers provide cushioning and help control over pronation. If knee and hip pain are due to poor foot mechanics, then proper footwear along with orthotic insoles can be a very effective way to relieve joint pain.

ORTHOTIC INSOLES

People with persistent or severe joint pain symptoms caused by flat feet may benefit from orthotic arch supports. Orthotic supports are used to modify the structure of your foot. While there are companies that manufacture custom corrective shoes, these are usually quite expensive. Similarly, custom orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist can also be costly and many people find them to be very rigid and uncomfortable.

If your condition is not too severe, you may get relief from the many different cushioning insoles sold at your local pharmacy. Just remember to replace them once their supporting cushioning becomes worn down as they will no longer be helpful. If your condition is a bit more severe or you are looking for a durable product that will not degrade quickly like foam or gel inserts, you may want to try a hybrid insole, like SelectFlex. SelectFlex gives you all the benefits of expensive custom orthotics at a fraction of the cost, and the adjustability feature of SelectFlex allows you to customize the level of arch support that your unique condition requires.

FOOT STRETCHES

There are many stretching exercises you can do to increase arch flexibility and strength and can be very helpful for people suffering from the side effects of flat feet. You can strengthen the intrinsic muscles in the foot by picking up marbles with your toes, stacking items with your toes, and writing numbers in the sand with your big toe. To stretch the plantar fascia ligament thereby improving arch flexibility and alleviating aches and pains, roll a golf ball forward and back under the arch of the foot, while seated. A runner’s stretch is also great to lengthen the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, both of which can cause pronation when tight.

OTHER TREATMENTS

Other exercises and therapeutic massage may also help with arch flexibility and pain relief. The downward dog yoga pose is great for lengthening and strengthening calf muscles and Achilles tendons. Heel cord stretching is a great exercise to stretch the Achilles tendon and posterior calf muscles, as a tight Achilles tendon will encourage the foot to roll inward.

Doctors may advise some people to rest until their symptoms improve and to avoid activities that could aggravate their condition. When obesity is the cause of flat feet, losing weight may improve the symptoms.

SEEKING TREATMENT FOR FLAT FEET

Know when to seek help from a medical professional. When pain is severe and interferes with your daily activities, it’s time to see the doctor for a thorough examination and treatment. If needed, flat foot surgery can provide permanent relief and may even create an arch where none existed. The surgical solution will ultimately be based upon your age, your exact symptoms, and the nature of your structural deformity.