Orthotics for Basketball
I have been an avid basketball player since middle school and continue to play in men’s leagues throughout the year. Even when I’m not in an actual league, I will occasionally find time to go and shoot some hoops.
There is no doubt that an excellent pair of basketball shoes makes the world of difference when playing, but how many of you thought that shoe inserts are just as important?
Most basketball shoe inserts are your standard sock liner with about 3mm thickness of foam. Some of them try to put ‘special’ foam padding around the bottom of the heel and forefoot areas to provide increased cushioning or support in these high impact areas.
What’s different about orthotics for basketball?
Unlike custom orthotics used for running, walking, and standing all day, basketball orthotics would need to be considerably different.
Think about the dynamics involved in the sport. There is running, which could be a simple jog back on defense after scoring a basket or a full-on sprint to chase down a loose ball. There are also the lateral (or side to side) movements while playing defense and not to mention the pivoting movement when one has the ball.
There are a lot of quick cuts that are done either with or without the ball and let’s not forget about the jumping, and finally, with jumping comes landing.
What are some common conditions that we see in basketball players?
For basketball players, common conditions we see include pain in the knees, arches, ankles, heels, toes, shins and back.
It is important to have your feet checked and sized properly by a foot expert to ensure that you are buying the proper basketball shoe. This is the time to have a Canadian Board Certified Pedorthist check your feet and gait. They will assess your biomechanics. They can also assess your basketball shoes to ensure they are the proper fit and function.
An excellent fitting basketball shoe should not make your feet or your toes go numb, nor should it make you feel like you are being squeezed around the forefoot and arch. Try to opt for the mid-cut or high-cut styles to provide better ankle stability.
A Pedorthist will also develop a treatment plan and strategy to help you get back to an activity that may include stretching, recovery footwear, over the counter insoles or custom orthotics.
The combination of basketball shoes and custom orthotics are not just important if you have pain or injuries. They can also have huge benefits, including improved performance, a reduced recovery time, less fatigue, and more comfort in the feet in legs.
What does this all mean when it comes to orthotics for basketball?
Well, it needs to be a device that is multidirectional, supportive, lightweight and cushioned all at the same time while still keeping in mind the individuals own biomechanics. We also have to understand that in basketball there is a lot more time spent on the balls of our feet than our heels; which is unlike in running where you have heel impact and toe-off propulsion equally.
The materials are usually made out of more accommodative material like EVA or a dense plastazote as its base shell material. The length can extend into the sulcus of the foot or alternatively the sulcus of the foot can have some other propulsive/cushioned material like poron. The top cover should be cushioned as well as have the ability to function in multiple directions and having it perforated would be an advantage for moisture control.
Whether you play at a competitive level or just shooting around and playing the odd pickup game, you can’t underestimate the benefits of having comfy feet for basketball. It may only be one hour a week that you are in your basketball shoes, but each hour adds up and waiting for an injury or pain to develop isn’t a fun thing to do.