Does your body require a little extra support during training because of a previous fitness injury or biomechanical deficiency?
While physical training and strengthening workouts can go a long way to addressing common musculoskeletal (MSK) issues, your efforts may be complemented by a wearable orthotic aid.
Check out this quick guide to four orthotic supports that may help with your fitness training.
Are you struggling with maintaining good posture both during your fitness boot camp as well as in your off hours?
Many things can contribute to poor posture such as:
- Muscle imbalances;
- Bad sitting habits (e.g. slouching); and
- Tugging back pain.
Unfortunately, if ignored, poor posture can easily translate into bad form during fitness activities like running or when performing exercises such as the plank, lunge, or squat, etc.
To reinforce good posture and better biomechanics – before, during, and after fitness activities – consider wearing an adjustable posture brace under your uniform/work clothes or workout gear.
Discreet, flexible, and shown to support a strong spine alignment and help correct poor posture, orthotic posture braces could be the wearable reminder you need to combat slumping, slouching, and rounded shoulders.
Stance, or the way in which you stand, as well the way you walk can be negatively influenced by the anatomical structure of your foot and ankle, for example.
A high or low arch can impact your pronation and potentially lead to common overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis. Hammertoes, bunions, and even corns and calluses can also alter your normal mechanical functioning causing you to make slight adjustments that potentially increase your risk of injury.
Orthotic aids like arch supports, toe separators, and bunion pads can help protect your feet and provide the necessary structure-correctors to facilitate healthy leg and foot movement during boot camp fitness training.
For example, wear over-the-counter insoles and other orthotics in the boots and shoes that you would normally wear to workout; or visit a podiatrist to get a formal diagnosis and find out if a custom-made orthotic aid could better serve your needs.
Do you notice slight swelling in a previously injured knee or ankle after an intense workout or training session?
You may find relief from the accompanying pressure and discomfort with a compression aid like a wrap or sleeve. Wearable compression aids can be worn under your clothes during and after your workout to help improve circulation in a vulnerable area and prevent fluid from building up.
These types of aids essentially target widespread compression of the body’s soft tissues, encouraging increased blood flow through a deeper network of blood vessels.
Compression can also stabilise muscles and joints during and after intense physical activity potentially mitigating muscle fatigue and inflammation.
Did you know that ankle sprains have one of the highest rates of re-injury among MSK injuries?
When ligaments that help secure the ankle joint are damaged, even after healing, they can experience residual defect.
Research has shown that in addition to the usual culprits like cold therapy, elevation, rest, and compression, therapeutic exercises during the first week following injury can improve overall ankle functioning.
One of the tools that can help with safely mobilising the ankle after an injury is a flexible but supportive orthotic brace or ankle wrap. Wear it under your sock with shoes that offer enough room to facilitate a recommended range of motion (ROM) and feel more confident completing exercises that ultimately help re-strengthen the joint.
Talk to a Professional
Before you run to the store to grab an orthotic aid for your training needs, you may want to talk to a professional such as your doctor, physical therapist, fitness trainer, or a sports medicine specialist.
For MSK issues that are resulting in recurring pain, limited ROM, or unexpected weakness, deeper testing and manual examination may help reveal underlying issues that could require more reinforcement than a basic orthosis can provide.