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Effectiveness of "shock-absorbing" insoles?

Discussion in 'Podiatric Residents & Physicians' started by HenryH, 12.16.12.

  1. HenryH

    HenryH

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    Over the last few months, I have noticed a number of insole products being sold that advertise having a shock/impact absorbing quality. To provide an example, Dr. Scholl's new "Active Sport" insole claims to absorb 40% of the shock from the impact of running. There's even a company selling insoles constructed with a form of Kevlar that they claim absorbs 80% of impact shock. Since you guys are podiatrists, can you confirm/refute these products' claims regarding shock absorption? Generally speaking, could someone actually avoid developing, say, knee or hip arthritis by running with such insoles in their shoes?
  2. PADPM

    PADPM

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    I am skeptical of any product that is introduced by Dr. Scholl. I have been in practice for well over 20 years, and have seen a lot of their products come and go. This is MY opinion, so really is not up for dispute. Although there is always going to be someone who said one of their products was a miracle cure, I'm basing my opinion on treating thousands and thousands of patients over the years, not just one single experience.

    If they say their new product reduces shock by 40%, I can not support or refute that claim, since I have seen no studies, but would like to see their studies.

    I actually do know about the Kevlar product, since I know someone involved with the marketing a d development. I have seen studies which did verify their claims. The company that licenses this product is using this material (Kevlar) in other applications such as padding for football injuries (Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles wore a vest of this material when he fractured his ribs), golf club grips, tennis racquet grips, etc. The Kevlar is combined with a gel type material so it isn't hard, but has shock absorbing qualities.

    I tried a pair of the insoles, and although they did appear to reduce shock, they had no significant arch, and did not provide adequate support. In my opinion if and when the shock absorbing qualities and support are combined (they may have done this already), it will be a very useful product.

    Decreasing injuries in the joints can naturally be reduced with adequate shock protection, but in my opinion it must also be combined with support and/or biomechanical control.
  3. Ferocity

    Ferocity

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    Is better support more crucial than shock absorptive properties? Would it ever be appropriate to sacrifice support for improved shock absorption?
  4. PADPM

    PADPM

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    It depends on the application.
  5. dyk343

    dyk343

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    My favorite are the skymall shock absorber shoes that you see in the magazines on airplanes. They basically have a big spring in the heel.
  6. HenryH

    HenryH

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    (forgot to quote post)
  7. HenryH

    HenryH

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    Thanks for the info. In your opinion and generally speaking, if someone does a lot of running, do you think it would be a more effective arthritis deterrent to wear normal shoes/insoles that don't absorb much shock but have significant arch support, or to wear shock-absorbing insoles that lack arch support? In other words, do you think impact shock or biomechanical issues (which could be corrected to a degree by orthotics) play more of a role in the long-term development of arthritis (or cartilage damage in general)?

    Also, if you don't mind, what is your take on the debate of forefoot- vs. midfoot- vs. rearfoot-striking when running? I was having a conversation with a physical therapist the other day who said that the line of thinking among PTs these days is that rearfoot/heel striking forces the hip to absorb more impact shock, while striking on the midfoot or forefoot causes more of the shock to be absorbed by the musculature of the legs.
  8. PADPM

    PADPM

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    There is no one size fits all answer to your question. Ideally, support and biomechanical control with shock absorption is the answer. If you don't have to compromise, why would you? Some patients need only shock absorption, and some need mechanical control. It is really dependent on the individual.

    I don't believe that shock absorption can ever really be a "negative", though many of the people who support the minimalist running style believe that mechanical control is harmful and prevents the person from building up muscles, gaining proprioception, etc. Omce again in my opinion this must be based on the needs of each individual.

    I believe that a mid foot/forefoot strike involves less impact. The idea is to act almost as a spring and enhance the windlass effect, whereas heel strike involves significant impact.

    My personal PT subscribes to the mid foot/forefoot strike camp. However, this method has to be learned since we were all taught heel strike (unless you were a short distance sprinter), and it takes practice. Of course this style is not for everyone.

    For an excellent explanation of forefoot/mid foot strike a d the posture that should also be incorporated, google the "Pose" method of running. Lots of information.
    LearnerSharer likes this.
  9. GSRaw

    GSRaw

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    Is that the company with the logo that looks like a small sperm cell?

    Talk about poor product advertising.



    Best,
    GSR

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  10. dtrack22

    dtrack22

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    Pretty sure dyk is talking about those z-coil shoes

    [​IMG]
  11. HenryH

    HenryH

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    Thanks for the info. After witnessing a family member's (and fellow runner's) "downward spiral" into severe hip arthritis, I am definitely looking to become proactive about taking preventative measures to ward-off the development of arthritis.

    I'm surprised more studies haven't been conducted to definitively assess the varying degrees of shock absorption by the major joints with respect to footstrike pattern. Depending on the study results, it seems like promoting widespread education of "proper" footstriking could be one of the most effective preventative measures for arthritis.

    I have actually been practicing more of a forefoot strike during each of my last few daily runs (7-8 miles/day), and I think I'm actually getting used to the pattern rather quickly (probably because I do a lot of uphill running about 3 days/week anyways). But one thing is for certain -- I'm going to need an insole that has a substantial amount of forefoot cushioning.
  12. PADPM

    PADPM

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    Read about the Pose running style that I mentioned. I think you may find it very useful a d interesting. It's not just about your foot strike, but also your posture.
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  13. NatCh

    NatCh Senior Moment

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    That's quite the hot potato topic in running circles lately. There exists a lot of opinions or theories on what constitutes "proper" running form, however there is no consensus. Midfoot striking seems to be the method du jour, however at the same time there are several elite competitive runners who disagree.

    Personal opinion not based on any research but on my experience as an avid runner: to reduce shock, minimize road running, maximize trail running, increase your cadence.
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  14. HenryH

    HenryH

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    I'll see if I can find the study later (a bit pressed for time at the moment), but I discovered a study via Googling the other day in which the amount of impact shock absorbed by the hips was measured when running with three different footstrike techniques (rearfoot, midfoot, forefoot), and the results showed that forefoot running substantially reduced it. I was surprised to see that there really wasn't a difference in the amount of impact shock absorbed by the hips when either midfoot striking or forefoot striking.
  15. dyk343

    dyk343

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    Very sad to see that these were removed from the Skymall catalogs this year.
  16. HenryH

    HenryH

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    Do they actually reduce impact shock, or are they essentially a junk gimmick?
  17. dyk343

    dyk343

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    They sure look like a gimmick. They also look incredibly unstable.

    Maybe they were pulled from skymall because people were falling over and suing the company?
  18. Ferocity

    Ferocity

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  19. HenryH

    HenryH

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    BTW -- PADPM, what is your opinion of the material Sorbothane? It is advertised as being able to absorb 94% of impact shock, but I ordered a pair of insoles made with that material and stopped using them after about 2 weeks because it didn't feel like they were absorbing anymore shock than "standard" insoles.
  20. Dommo

    Dommo

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    nothing can stop 94% of shock that's impossible and snakeoil shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles shock absorbing insoles 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    Last edited: 08.12.14
  21. podiatrysurgery

    podiatrysurgery

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    I always recommend to my patients to buy Impact Gels, conveniently I sell them in my office/shoes store/nail salon/laser center, if you know what I mean!!!!!
    This inserts are scientifically approved and studied by investigator of colleges. All my patients/clients have to give great testimony of them in the webpage/blog of my practice.

    Last edited: 07.31.14

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