Guest Blogger: Instant Arches
by Steve L. Rosenberg, DPM
Arch Specialist for Softball Factory
To get your feet on and off the ground when running for a fly ball, fielding a grounder, 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 is 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.
A major reason why 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. 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 softball shoes. Orthotic foot supports should be placed in the shoes to provide the proper balance the foot needs to achieve better biomechanical balance and stability. Softball shoes are designed to protect the foot and give the player better shock absorption, traction and stability when pitching, running/stealing, fielding or hitting. The shoe consists of many different parts with specific functions. They are not designed to biomechanically support the foot or prevent abnormal foot pronation.
Custom made orthotics made by a podiatrist or over the counter arch supports are the best ways to control abnormal foot pronation and improve foot biomechanics. Depending on how rigid the material the orthotic device is made of, it will determine how much support the foot will receive. The more rigid the materials used to make the orthotic device the more stable the foot will be in the softball shoe.
Custom made orthotics are usually fabricated from a molded plaster cast of the foot that a podiatrist takes in his office and then sends to a specialized orthotic laboratory to design the product. They are made out of hard plastic or graphite materials. Orthotics stabilizes and aligns the joints in the foot below the ankle and middle of the foot. They create better muscle balance in the lower leg and foot and allow the ball of the foot to be firmly placed on the ground. These types of devices can reduce the risk of injuries to the foot.
Over the counter arch supports are usually made out of high density foam materials and are not as rigid as custom orthotics. Instant Arches® for softball is an over the counter foam arch support that is specifically designed for softball shoes. It supports the joints in the middle of the foot and below the ankle. It allows the ball of the foot to be placed firmly on the ground for stability.
The time it takes, for a player to get their feet on and off the ground can be the difference between a win and a loss. It’s a matter of seconds.
Dr. Steven L. Rosenberg is the official Arch Specialist of Baseball Factory & Softball Factory. Dr. Rosenberg is a podiatrist in private practice spanning over 27 years, specializing in sports medicine, pain management and all other aspects of podiatry. His practice is located in Santa Monica, California. He has lectured worldwide and is a regularly featured blogger on the Huffington Post AOL. He has authored numerous articles on foot injuries, injury prevention, women’s shoe issues, foot biomechanics, and the treatment of foot problems through utilization of eastern and western medicine. Dr. Rosenberg is the CEO and President of Foot Products Enterprises Inc., which manufactures the unique arch product, Instant Arches® for baseball and softball. These Arches are also available for running shoes, all athletic shoes, sandals, flip flops casual and dress shoes. Dr. Rosenberg’s Instant Arches®, sold worldwide, are worn by men and women of all ages from preteens to adults. For more information on Instant Arches visit http://www.instantarches.com/ia-baseball.shtml.