Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Running Shoes and other Running topics.
A pair of orthotics can alleviate many of the foot and leg problems marathoners experience. If you have chronic pain in your foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back, it's worth a visit to the podiatrist. You may pronate (your ankle tips to the inside) or supinate (your ankle tips to the outside). Check the injuries chapter for more details on these conditions, but simply put, if your foot rolls around when it strikes the ground, especially over the long miles of marathon training, you are at increased risk for injuries, and orthotics may help.
Check the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine website at aapsm.org for ideas if you don't have a regular podiatrist, or ask fellow runners in your area for a recommendation. If you don't like what you hear from a podiatrist, such as “just don't run,” then run, don't walk, to another podiatrist. The right doctor wants to help keep you healthy and happily running and there are ways to correct almost all foot problems.
Most custom made orthotics (ordered through a podiatrist) cost several hundred dollars, but some insurance companies will cover one pair per calendar year, and once you have them they will last for several years. That said, some runners do just fine with simple over-the-counter arch supports or shoe insoles from a drug store, and a podiatrist can customize these devices with extra padding in a way that gives your feet the support they need.