Are Orthotics Good For You?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 19, 2011
  • Updated Jan. 19, 2011 at 10:25 AM UTC

Several key biomechanics professors have become skeptics.

According to an article posted on The New York Times’ Web site, one of the leading researchers on orthotics for the past 30 years, Dr. Benno M. Nigg, has recently concluded that shoe inserts may be helpful as a short-term solution, but that it is not evident how to make orthotics that work.

Dr. Nigg is a professor of biomechanics at the Human Performance lab at the University of Calgary. His studies have found that there is is no way to predict the effect of a given orthotic.

University of Massachusetts professor Dr. Joseph Hamill agrees with Dr. Nigg. “We have found many of the same results,” he said. “I guess the main thing to note is that, as biomechanists, we really do not know how orthotics work.”

However, not everyone agrees with the professors.

Seamus Kennedy is the president and co-owner of New-York-based Hersco Ortho Labs and points out that there are “hundreds of published papers” that show that orthotics can treat and prevent “mechanically induced foot problems.”

For More: The New York Times

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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