Insoles help prevent sports injuries
- By: Samena Chaudhry
Knobbly rubber insoles worn inside sports shoes should reduce knee and ankle injuries, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2003;37:170). The insoles radically improve athletes' awareness of the orientation of their feet.
The research involved working with the Australian women's soccer squad to examine the players' sensitivity to ankle movement. This ability helps prevent stumbling and was measured by using a movable platform. Seventeen members of the soccer squad had both feet tested. The insoles were cut from commercially available rubber sheeting with four nodules per square centimetre. The nodules were each 3 mm high and 1 mm in diameter.
The women's scores dropped when they wore their usual boots compared with being barefoot. But inserting the cheap rubber insoles brought their performance back up to the barefoot level.
The smooth insoles and high shock absorbing properties of conventional sports shoes mask important pressure cues