Are you already starting to increase your exercise, work in your garden, or getting ready to travel? If so, be sure you treat your feet right to enjoy your activities that will place a higher demand on your feet.
The bones and joints in your feet were designed to absorb shock and move you forward.
But supporting these feet properly, may require knowing where your feet are on the spectrum from flexible flatfoot to a rigid high arched foot. The flexible flatter design is a good shock absorber, but lacks leverage to propel you well. Not only can this lead to foot complaints, but knee and low back pain as well. On the other end of the spectrum, the rigid high arched foot lacks shock absorption, but has plenty of leverage for push off.
Once you know your foot type, you can adjust your shoes and foot supports to match the needs of the foot and help prevent a host of chronic lower extremity problems.
In general, the more flexible and flatter the foot, the firmer the shoe needs to be. If you have a more rigid high arched foot, you'd be better off with a more flexible shock absorbing shoe.
No matter which shoe you purchase, here are some tips when evaluating shoes:
- Make sure they bend at the ball, not in the middle
- They should have a firm heel counter
- Avoid shoes that twist easily from side to side
- For athletic activities or working on your feet, the more lacing the better. Simple rule: Laces are better than Velcro, which are better than Slip ons.
Most shoes out of th box have poor arch support, no matter how much money you paid. How can you tell? When you can remove the insert, roll it up easily and stuff it into your pocket, it isn’t adequate! Invest $40 in Superfeet or Powerstep (in office only), and you will have invested in the health of your feet.
If you’ve been inactive during the winter, incorporate a good stretching program in your daily routine. Build up your exercise program gradually, and listen to your body. While minor overuse problems may fade away as you increase your activities, persistent pain is a signal to seek some professional help with your problem.
- For a very stable all around shoe for the flatter squarer foot, Brooks Addiction, Beast/Ariel have been around for a long time.
- New Balance comes in widths, and has a range of stability in various models. Keen walking shoes are amazing.
- Avoid flip flops, and take a look at Naot sandals and Chaco.
- Few shoes are designed well for the high arched foot, but Dansko does a good job, and the rocker in the front of the shoe can help significantly.
Knowing what you now know about shoes, pick up the right pair for your feet and line up a walk at Greenlake, the Burke Gilman Trail, the new train around the Jackson Park Golf Course or one of the other walking trails in Seattle. Many communities such as Lake City have urban trails developed and mapped.