You know that song that goes “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more?” Well, as silly as it sounds, it’s definitely possible! The average human will walk 150,000 miles in their lifetime. That’s the equivalent of walking around the Earth six times. So, the important question is: When was the last time you thought about proper footwear and the health of your feet as the key to your overall health?
Proper Footwear Is the Key to Health
Think about what your life would look like if you could only walk or stand for short periods of time without pain. The effects of limited mobility would put a damper on your social life and would curtail your independence. This sounds like a made up scenario, but unfortunately, it happens every day.
We are constantly bombarded with information and messages about our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, the importance of a well-balanced diet, and ways to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s—but we rarely hear messages about foot health, and the importance of keeping our feet healthy.
Why Footwear Matters
Your foot is a biomedical marvel with 26 bones and 33 joints, all working in conjunction to provide balance, stability, and movement. If you need something to compare your feet to, think about shock absorbers in your car. Shock absorbers are used to limit excessive suspension movement––to absorb excess energy from the springs. In the very same way, our feet absorb shock from the ground.
Proper footwear then, acts as a cushion to the shock absorption––helping your feet to absorb even more shock. This is important because it protects your feet, and helps you to maintain your balance and posture to prevent falls. Besides protecting your feet from everyday wear and tear, proper footwear helps prevent conditions such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and calluses.
How to Find the Right Footwear
A question we get asked a lot is: “What does proper footwear feel like?” And to this, we reply––it depends. In the last twenty or so years, footwear has made great strides (quite literally!) and has become tailored to specific activities such as running, walking, or specific sports.
Generally, the rule of thumb is that if you are doing the same kind of activity three times a week, you should buy specific shoes for that exercise. The right shoe will fit properly, be comfortable to wear, and provide good arch support. We recommend never buying a pair of shoes that is too flexible, and never buy a pair of shoes that are uncomfortable in the store. Don’t count on “breaking them in!” Instead, opt for a shoe that’s comfortable from the get-go. This will save you a lot of discomfort, and a lot of money down the road.
Opt for Orthotics
As foot specialists, we talk about orthotics and arch support a lot, because they’re often ignored! However, if you have fallen arches, high arches, or plantar fasciitis, you should be fitted for orthotics by a physician. Typically, if you have chronic foot, hip, or knee pain, custom orthotics may be necessary to help relieve your pain. Our podiatrist can help find the right orthotics to fit your needs and lifestyle.
Healthy Feet Aren’t Just for Athletes
As a general population, we don’t really hear of the importance of maintaining healthy feet. Usually this type of care is only recommended for world class athletes, whose feet are a major part of their athletic careers! But just because you’re not Lebron James or Usain Bolt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also take care of your feet.
Our feet are an important part of our health. In order to keep our feet healthy, we have to invest in proper footwear that is designed to optimize our comfort, stability, and balance.
If you have any questions about orthotics, contact Foot Specialists of Birmingham today to set up an appointment.