Ask The Pedorthist: Rocker Soles

The concept of having a slight rocker built onto the sole of a shoe has been a common tool used by orthopedists and podiatrist for decades to help propel the foot through the gate cycle. This helps limit the foots ability to turn in, also known as pronation, or turn out, which is known as supination. It also helps “roll” pressure of the ball of the foot where the heads of the metatarsal bones are.

Around 10 years ago, a fad started where these rocker soles stopped being thought of a strictly “theraputic” and started being marketed as “toning”. Now, after several successful lawsuits filed by clients unhappy with their results, shoes with rocker soles have fallen out of favor with more trendy stores and clients, but still have the same amazing theraputic value they always had. Just because they won’t necessarily tone your butt doesn’t mean they can’t offer some kick-butt comfort!

Here are some common foot problems that are often helped with the wear of a shoe with a mild rocker botom:

  1. Ball of Foot Pain: ┬áBecause the rocker bottom helps distribute pressure more evenly on the entire foot and helps to “roll” pressure of the ball of your foot, pain in this area is often alleviated.
  2. Pronation and Supination: Because the foot is propelled through the gate cyle ant an accelerated pace, there is less opportunity for the foot to turn in or out.
  3. Heel Pain: Because rocker soles slightly delay heel strike in the gate cycle, and more pressure is distributed onto the midfoot, heel pain from plantar faciitis, bursitis, or heel spurs is often alleviated.
  4. Bunions, Hallux Rigidus, and Arthritis: Because range of motion of the joints between the ball of your foot and toes is restricted by rocker soles, they often aleviate pain associated with joint movement.

Some examples of rocker bottoms we carry are the Waldlaufer Dynamic series, most FitFlop models, and most Alegria models.

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