Our first guest speaker, Ellen Hector, D.P.T., A.T.C. of Physical Therapy One led us in a discussion that included everything from shoes to how our body moves. We had lots of different types of shoes and inserts for hands-on exploration and we evaluated people's walks! Printed handouts from this discussion are available at Just Move. Ask us for one next time you're in!
Some great take away tips from this discussion:
- Our feet take the brunt of our daily activities and have many, many bones and ligaments. Understanding the chain of how our precious feet work with the muscles in our legs, hips and glutes and how our walk or foot shape impacts our joints and ligaments is WORTH it!
- While the right shoe can help alleviate a problem, long term, it's good to evaluate how our body is working as well. Often, we don't even realize the ways our body will compensate until we experience pain or injury. For runners, the Good Form Running program at Gazelle is a great resource. Another resource is at Agility Physical Therapy. These places will break down things like how your feet hit the ground, your hip angle and many other things. Understanding how your individual body works is a big part of selecting a shoe.
- When selecting a shoe, it's important to keep in mind the activity it will be used for. Most shoes are built for a specific activity. For example, running shoes are designed for forward motion. If you are participating in group fitness classes, a running shoe many have too much tread or to much forward pitch for comfort in other activities. Most cross-training shoes are designed to give good multi-directional support, but may have too much tread for a dance fitness class. There are shoes that are specifically designed for dance fitness and have a circular tread, but not all have good support.
- To check for how supportive your shoe
is (and not everyone needs the same amount of support - this is why
understanding your gait or walk and body mechanics is important!) you
1) Fold the shoe - it should only fold where your foot would bend naturally
2) Twist the shoe - if you need arch support, you don't want that shoe to be able to twist
3) Look at the foundation - at the arch and at the heel, you can check for a change in color to know that the types of materials used for support in that area are different
- Your shoes don't last as long as you think they should! They wear out long before they start to LOOK worn. You begin to risk injury when you out wear your shoe life. There's not a simple answer to know exactly when your shoe life is up unless you wear a pedometer or fit bit. Then, most studies say that, depending on the shoe and type of use, you should replace them after 300 - 500 miles.