As I was running my 3 miles this morning, I was thinking about the importance of footwear, and the need for me to write a post on this, because it is so important!
The feet are the foundation of our frame, and wearing proper, supportive footwear on them can make the biggest of differences in our health. Oftentimes, patients ask me, "What is the right kind of shoe?" The answer for this is that for everyone, it's different.
Thankfully, I can use specific muscle testing in the office to check the shoes that my patients are wearing (if we haven't done this yet, patients, bring in your shoes to have me do some muscle testing to determine if they are a healthy fit for you!). A healthy fit will strengthen certain muscles, while an unhealthy fit will cause certain muscle weaknesses throughout the body.
There are a few general rules, tips, and guidelines regarding footwear:
*The wear pattern on shoes should be even, i.e. if the outside of the shoe is worn, there's an excessive pronation (collapsing in of the foot) problem.
*Lace-up shoes are best! No slip-ons, no shoes without heel support (around the back of the ankle), no flip-flops (horrible for the feet), and no high heels!
*The shoe needs to be wide enough in width so that the toes can spread out fully when you step (notice my shoes below-even though I have narrow feet, the room for the toes is wide). This action turns on the back extensor muscles. Without these muscles, you can eventually develop the back "hump" that you see in many elderly men and women.
*Tight shoes give you tight feet, and over time, neck and back problems.
*If you trace your foot on a piece of paper, and then place the shoe over top of the drawing, the shoe should fit the drawing.
*Clogs are great for standing, but poor for walking.
*Running on the grass, track, or pavement, is much better than running on the sidewalk.
Finally, if in doubt, bring the shoes in to me, and have them tested for your body!