Last week we discussed changing your routine with the shutdown, and how you have to be strategic with a new fitness program, so not to injure yourself.
Today, we will be talking about a common neglected area when it comes to a new fitness routine – your footwear!
As Podiatrists, we see a lot of injuries caused by either inappropriate footwear, or footwear that has passed its used by date. And yes, shoes do have a used by date.
Firstly, let’s talk about appropriate shoes. We often see people at the clinic wearing what we would term ‘inappropriate’ footwear, I have other words for that, but this is a family blog, so I won’t say those words! Like for example, you wouldn’t wear a pair of thongs on a worksite, or a pair of workboots to the beach, there is a time and place for all different types of shoes.
One of the most common we see are Sketchers being used for either running, walking or gym work. Sketchers are a brand of shoes that are built for comfort, they have no real substance to them. They can be bent in half, twisted around like a rag and the heel counter is quite flimsy. All these components of a shoe should be supportive, especially if you are wearing them to exercise. And as I said before, there is a time and place for Sketchers, like around the house, but I would not wear them for brisk walking, running or going to the gym.
Expanding on the right shoe for the right job, have you noticed that each athletic footwear brand has multiple shoes? That is because, they build shoes for different types of feet, and different types of activities. These brands build shoes for flat feet and high arched feet. If a person with a flat foot starts wearing a pair of joggers built for a high arch foot, they are going to get foot and shin pain. Likewise, the opposite is true, a person with a high arch in a flat foot shoe would not be comfortable, and it would start to cause problems on the outside of their foot and leg.
The athletic brands also build their range around activities, they have customised shoes for running, cycling, trail walking and sprinting. If you don’t have the correct shoe, injury is sure to follow. If you are not sure if you are wearing the correct shoes, bring them in on your next appointment and we can assess them for you and give you some recommendations to try.
And lastly, let’s talk about your shoes having a used by date. Most joggers these days have an EVA sole to them. This is a fantastic plastic foam that is full of minute air bubbles, that gives it lightness and comfort. The only problem is, it does compress quickly and it does degrade with time. So if you buy a few pairs of your favourite joggers on sale, don’t leave them in the cupboard for a few years, because when you pull them out, and start walking on them, you will see little bits of EVA over your floors (I had a patient come in recently into the clinic and had this happen).
The next thing to look at is the wear on your shoes. Has the sole worn under the ball of the foot? Has the outside edge of the heel worn? Has the upper got a hole in it, or is it twisted? Has the sole compressed? These are all signs that your shoes have died. The rule of thumb is get a new pair after 12 months or 5000kms (although I have no idea how to measure that when I am walking).
By taking notice of your shoes, you will reduce your chances of an injury quite substantially, and it is a quick fix to do. If you are not sure if you are wearing the right shoes, OR, if your shoes have passed their ‘USED BY’ date, give us a call on 9542 3491, and we can help you out.
The Team From Sutherland Podiatry