Retired Professor, Dr. Benno Nigg and founder of Human Performance Lab, surprised many after years of researching shoes, shoe inserts (foot orthoses) and injuries, his overall conclusion was shoe inserts may be helpful as a short-term solution, preventing injuries in some athletes, but it is not clear how to make inserts that correct mechanical-alignment problems. such as shin splints, knee and foot pain. The acknowledged expert found, ‘increasingly expensive accessories make almost no difference to running injury rates.’
All this at a time when the foot orthotic industry has become a billion-dollar industry. The author concluded those who prescribe foot orthoses cannot yet predict clinical outcomes. The biomechanist believes whilst there is a correlation between what an individual finds comfortable and the insock’s ability to prevent or alleviate patho-mechanical problems, in some cases he qualifies this by suggesting runners purchase shoes and accessories that make them feels good (regardless of any efficacious outcome).
Discerning consumers should not be dazzled, he cautions by high-tech claims shoes will complement their gait. Despite the exponential development of foot orthotic industry in the last thirty years, the frequency of running injury has not significantly changed. He concurs research supports the biggest predictor of injury is intensity and not, the shoes the athlete chooses to wear
Kolata G @011) Close Look at Orthotics Raises a Welter of Doubts New York Times, January 17, 2011