Previously, I’ve written on how and why horses wear orthotics. But did you know why it is important for their riders to do the same?
Riding horses, whether for fun, jumping, racing, shooting, etc. requires accurate foot positioning and foot responses to obtain maximum balance, stability and even improved performance.
With riding, when the foot is placed in the stirrup, one is relying on the forefoot not only to absorb shock but also to keep stability in the foot. That is, with normal gait (walking) there is a heel pivot, an ankle pivot and then the forefoot pivot. When going through the forefoot pivot motion, the foot needs to be re-supinated or locked up for propulsion. With riding, the forefoot can become deformed because for many of us, the flat or bottom of our forefoot is not horizontal to the alignment of the back of the foot and leg.
Thus, the forefoot must deform to avoid malalignment of the foot to the leg. With this deforming force, the foot may become unlocked which creates instability. An unstable or unlocked foot will cause you to be slow in your heel kicking to control your horse, make it jump, etc. and cause the rest of your body to be on an unstable supportive positioning which obviously inhibits your performance for example with shooting from or directing the horse. Worse, you may with long term riding begin to experience foot, ankle, knee or back pain.
This same principle applies to riding bikes, the advanced biker will not only have his or her bike custom fit to their body, but the pedals and sometimes shoes will have wedges to accommodate the forefoot imbalance or better align the forefoot with the pedal. With stirrups one can add wedges but the foot is 3 dimensional and thus it is best to have an orthotic designed 3 dimensionally to stabilize the forefoot so it aligns the foot to the body when placed in such a demanding position such as a stirrup.
At ArchMasters, we’ve not only provided our trademarked Custom Molded 3 Dimensional Realignment orthoses for bikers to help with pain but also to multiple horse riding enthusiast and competitors. Improve your stability, performance and avoid deforming forces that lead to pain with our help.