Here are some easy things you can do right away to help make your feet healthy & happy.
1) SHOE WIDTH
Your toes need to be able to spread out like your fingers. If not, your toes start lacking independence, flexibility and the small and big toe joint get contorted inward. What do your toes look like? If they look like the image on the left your shoes are much too tight!
Bunion surgery is very common to correct abnormal joints at the big and little toe. Make sure you have plenty of width in your shoes! Its not just dress shoes that are too narrow, many branded sport shoes squeeze the toes in an effort to make your feet look thin. Don’t sacrifice looks now for a painful foot condition or surgery later!
2) ELEVATED HEELS
It might look good but it’s terrible for your feet! When you raise your heel you force all the weight and impact of your entire body to the ball of your foot. Keep in mind that the 52 bones in your feet are mostly located in the front and can be easily damaged by forefoot loading. Wear shoes with less than 1 inch of heel rise. This includes cowboy boots for men!
3) FLEXIBLE SHOES - NOT
It seems like flexible shoes are good for you. This is a common misperception. Flexible shoes are not good for your feet! The only part of the shoe that should flex is at the ball of the foot where your foot flexes naturally. Find a shoe that is difficult to bend from the ball of the foot to the heel. If it bends under the pressure of your hand – its too soft.
4) CUSHIONING - MORE IS BETTER
Hard surfaces have only been widely used in the last 100 years and are not natural to the human body. When you combine hard surfaces to the added weight gain of Australians it’s a disastrous combination for your body, causing joint damage along the entire skeletal system from feet to head. Find a well-cushioned shoe!
5) STRETCH & EXERCISE
Can you point any of your toes independently? Most people can’t as they have lost this ability due to shoe constraint. Stretch your feet and toes each night and try to move toes independently.
6) CHANGE SHOES OFTEN
Do you like a particular shoe style? Buy 2 pair and interchange them. And when the outside heel wears out – buy a new pair otherwise your foot will tilt outward when standing and walking causing your leg to under rotate. This causes knee, hip and back pain.
7) SWEATY FEET
Are your feet hot and sweaty? Take off your shoe, put your hand inside and try to blow through any air or vent holes. If you don’t feel immediate air – your shoe is likely heating up your feet. Hot feet not only increase the risk of infection but increase inflammation. Choose shoes with mesh uppers when possible and give them the breath test as some meshes don’t breathe well. Second buy shoes that have a midsole orthotic or shank to prevent movement inside the shoe cavity. Internal movement causes friction and heat.
8) SUPPORT YOUR ARCHES
It is important to support your arch to help equalize foot pressure and prevent arch collapse. Either find a shoe with a built-in arch the matches your arch type or buy and after market insole that has different arch heights. An arch adjustment is one of the easiest ways to relieve plantar fascia or heel spur pain. Signs that you might need arch support are (1) wear on the inside of your shoe, (2) ankles tipping inward, (3) back pain and (4) pain on the bottom of the arch or heel.
Take care of your feet and they will take care of you!
Invest in high-quality shoes, like Z-CoiL Comfort Footwear. Protecting your feet now and into the future will save you more than just time and money.