The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Got Foot Fatigue and Pain? You Should Consider Orthotic Inserts for Athletes

Posted by on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016


Since the 3-D printer market has opened up, a number of innovative thinkers have been looking for ways to tackle common everyday problems. One of those issues is foot fatigue and pain, which is believed to be suffered by eight in ten Americans in some form or another. A recent news story caught our eye that Olympic Swimmer Martha McCabe  who’s expected to compete for Team Canada in the 2016 Rio Olympics  has been working with one of these startups to treat her foot woes.

Olympic Swimmer, Martha McCabe, talks Wiivvs from Wiivv on Vimeo.

Martha McCabe Gets Custom Orthotics

Martha McCabe hasn’t publicly discussed what sort of foot pain she has, but she did say she feels that using shoes insoles during her “land training” like running and squats gives her a “competitive edge.” She chose a brand called Wiivv. According to third-party tests, the company’s BASE insoles reduced joint load on knees and hips by up to 30%, which is believed to reduce overuse injuries like Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Other advocates include registered nurses, biomechanical engineers, and ultra marathon runners.

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What Other Olympians Wear Orthotics in Their Shoes?

Martha’s not the only Olympic athlete to come out in support of orthotics. “My feet are the foundation to my success,” said U.S. Olympic runner Shalane Flanagan. She went with a brand called OPT for her orthotics. She added, “I think I had too many cooks in the kitchen (in Portland) telling me I needed to change things. In the end, I am still wearing [the] original orthos.”

Canadian Olympic medalist Robert Esmie went with Kintec orthotics for his feet and applied for a job with the company after seeing how well they worked to improve his performance and comfort level.

Joanna Hayes, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles, relies on orthotics during intense training sessions and competitions. She began wearing them after being diagnosed with a stress fracture so she could continue training without pain. “I got better pretty quickly. It took the pressure off the top of my foot,” she explained, adding, “They definitely helped relieve the pain in my feet, but also my knees and shins.”

What Conditions Do Orthotics Treat?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says that the primary goals of custom inserts are to align and support the foot and ankle, prevent or correct foot deformities, and improve the overall function of the lower limbs. Conditions they list on their website, for which orthotics are routinely prescribed, include:

  • Bunions and bunionettes
  • Corns and calluses
  • Flat feet in children and adults
  • High arches
  • Stiff big toe
  • Hammer toe or claw toe
  • Forefoot pain (metatarsalgia)
  • Limb length deformity
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Diabetic neuropathic ulceration
  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
  • Runner’s knee

Choosing The Right Orthotics

You may have seen machines in the stores that churn out “custom” orthotics based on your answers to a series of questions. However, these products are not recommended. As NYC podiatrists, we have seen people suffer real injuries as a result of having improper orthotics in their shoes. As NY Daily News points out, “the way the orthotic is designed determines its effectiveness.” Like the podiatrist interviewed, our team watches how you move on a treadmill in our gait analysis lab, measures the foot in neutral position, and makes periodic adjustments to ensure that your orthotics are properly fitted and maintained to avoid doing more harm than good.

You May Also Like: 3-D Printer Orthotics – The Next Frontier For Podiatry Care

Need Custom Orthotic Shoe Inserts in NYC?

You needn’t be in total agony to start using custom orthotics. Most of the fittings we do are preventative in nature — after a nagging ache begins but before a major injury occurs. We like orthotics because they provide relief in 90% of patients without invasive or expensive treatment.

When it comes to orthotics, we hang our hat on a new company called SOLS for our custom-printed orthotics. Our very own Dr. Josef J. Geldwert is the biomechanics advisor to SOLS and can testify to the brand’s reputation as the most tested, evaluated, and prescribed 3-D printed orthotic. If our doctors determine that a 3-D printed orthotic is appropriate, we always prescribe SOLS. (SOLS also has a non-prescription insole called Exo SOLS.) In addition to prescribing SOLS, we have an in-house orthotic laboratory where we handcraft custom-made orthotics on the premises. This means we can adjust our orthotics instantly without having to send them back to an outside laboratory, which means we can treat your foot ailments without any delay.

Contact us to learn more about getting examined and fitted for custom orthotics in Manhattan or Westchester, NY.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.