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Foot Support for Sports

Textured insoles may help reduce foot and ankle injuries

WEDNESDAY, April 9 , 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Textured insoles in athletic shoes may help prevent common sports-related foot and ankle injuries.

So says a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Conventional smooth insoles interfere with the ability of the soles of the feet to detect sensory clues that provide information about pressure differences in the areas beneath the feet, known as the "dynometric map."

Air cushions and gel cells in shoes that are meant to absorb shock make the problem even worse, the study authors note.

They designed textured rubber insoles for the footwear of 17 Australian women's soccer team players. Using a specially designed device, the researchers measured the women's ankle movement 300 times while the women wore footwear with and without the textured insoles and while they were barefoot.

The researchers found the women's ability to move the ankle to match specific conditions -- movement discrimination -- was much worse while using smooth insoles compared to being barefoot. Their movement discrimination was much better when they wore the textured insoles.

That improved movement discrimination could help reduce sports-related foot and ankle injuries, the study concludes.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about foot and ankle injuries.

SOURCE: British Journal of Sports Medicine, news release, April 2003
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