Monday, August 1, 2016

What is Your Child's Foot Type?

Our sports medicine society puts far too little importance on the issue of foot-type. Each and every foot has a unique personality, and can be defined in one of 3 categories; pronator, neutral (normal) or supinator. The running shoe industry has created shoes specifically for each foot type, and it should be part of every young athlete’s examination profile to know what shoe type is appropriate for the best injury prevention program possible.

Figure 1
Figure 2
In an effort to improve our “reactive” sports medicine industry (only treating athletes after they become injured), it’s important to look at all athletes, regardless of age, from a biomechanical perspective and make corrective recommendations in an effort
to reduce future injuries.

Each foot has 3 arches (Fig. 1). If one or more of these arches have “fallen”, or are not doing their job, there will be a domino-like effect up the entire structure (Fig. 2) producing increased demands on one or more areas of the body (muscle, tendon &/or joint). Secondly, the standing foot type can be different than the dynamic foot type (running), therefore, it’s important for a trained shoe specialist to determine what the dynamic foot type is so that the proper shoes can be recommended.

The standing foot type can be determined through digital scanning (Fig. 3) and appropriate recommendations will be made with regard to custom orthotics. As you can see in (Fig. 4), there is a difference between optimal foot support (strong arches) as compared to a foot with one or more weakened arches. In almost all people, there will also be a difference and imbalance between the left and right foot.

Standing foot type can be addressed and corrected rather easily. As we can see, there is a tremendous difference in full body alignment once custom orthotics are recommended. There is a mere 2 minute difference between picture one (without orthotics) and picture 2 (with orthotics).


Understand the importance of a full biomechanical exam (including foot type) on all athletes, regardless of age. Biomechanical x-rays are recommended for those 12 and older, but custom orthotics are recommended for those 7 and older. Specific shoe types should be considered for all athletes 7 and older, and bring custom orthotics to specialty shoe store when purchasing shoes (running, basketball, soccer, etc.).

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