In recent years there has been a lot of buzz about “rocker soles”. However, there is still a lot of confusion about them and many people don’t know if rocker soles are appropriate for them. I hope this blog clears up some of the confusion.
There are two types of rocker soles. The first is an unstable rocker sole. These soles are designed to introduce instability under the foot, in all directions, so your core muscles have to work harder. These types of shoes are best worn by people who move around a lot and they should only be worn on flat, hard, level, predictable surfaces. People who stand in one spot for a long time or have balance or equilibrium problems (including middle ear problems, stroke, MS and Menière’s) should not wear these soles as they will increase their risk of falling.
A lot of people are aware that feet that roll excessively inwards, causing the arches to flatten (overpronation), can eventually cause pain and mobility issues. However, few people realize that the opposite situation, feet that do not roll in at all (underpronation) can cause serious problems too.
During a normal, healthy stride, when the heel touches the ground, the midfoot and heel will roll slightly down and inwards to absorb the shock of the step. This is known as pronation. However, when the foot does not roll inwards, and in some cases can roll to the outside, a lack of shock absorption occurs. You can compare this to shocks on your car, as you go over bumps in the road, they compress so you don’t feel the full impact. When your foot does not pronate, your body feels the full impact. This continual lack of proper shock absorption can lead to heel pain, forefoot pain, shin splints, knee pain, and lower back pain. Another common issue is reoccurring ankle sprains, especially if your feet roll to the outside.
As a child grows and develops, it is normal for their feet and legs to go through considerable changes. From birth to about 10-years-old, the long arch of the foot is expected to transition from “flat footedness” to “normal”. It is during this slow and gradual process that a child may complain of pain or a caregiver may notice something doesn’t look quite right. It is the role of a Canadian Certified Pedorthist C. Ped (C) to assess and treat the child if necessary.