It took over 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot! Are we wrecking them with the latest pair of fashion shoes, boots or trainers?
We take if for granted that walking is easy but do we walk properly? Generally NO!!! But it’s not entirely your fault – it’s your shoes!! All shoes, male or female, heeled or flat, in fact any foot device which feet are crammed into...and so the battle begins between feet and shoes!
Wearing shoes obstruct the foot’s natural function, afflicting it strains and stresses. Did you know that wearing shoes causes the muscles in your feet to atrophy? This is where there is a decrease in the mass of the muscle, which over time can lead to other health problems!
But if shoes are bad what do we do?
Wear shoes with “toe spring”
Where the toe tip on your shoes will bend slightly upward, so that it doesn’t touch the surface. This is a design feature that allows your foot to roll into the next step. This is necessary because the shoe, by its nature, won’t allow your foot to work in the way it wants to. Normally your foot would roll very flexibly through each step, from the heel through the outside of your foot, then through the arch, before your toes give you a powerful propulsive push forward into the next step.
Change your shoes as much as possible – If you wear high heels for a long time, your tendons shorten—and then it's only comfortable for you to wear high heels, so come the summer women wearing flip flops may complain of painful tingling in the soles of their feet—known as "flip flop-itis," which is the result of suddenly switching from heeled winter boots to summer flip flops.
Most men's shoes conform to the shape of the feet and have a roomy toe box with sufficient horizontal and vertical space and a low heel (usually about half an inch high). Soles made of hard materials such as leather or soft materials such as crepe can both be worn, but softer soles tend to be more comfortable. If you stand for extended periods of time, shoes with soft, pliable soles will protect your feet and help keep them comfortable. This is the shoe paradox: We've come to believe that shoes, not bare feet, are natural and comfortable, when in fact wearing shoes simply creates the need for wearing shoes. You can also get an over exposure to germs wearing the same shoes. Shoes heat your feet causing them to sweat! And the materials also retain the moisture it creates. This over exposure to wetness can lead to foot fungus and other foot problems.
Go barefoot when you can – it's also quite relaxing around home and good after a stressful day!
Learn to walk properly! Richard Handford, Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists offers this advice:
• Relax shoulders and keep them back and down
• Stand tall with a slightly lifted chest and a straight back
• Opt for a rucksack that distributes weight evenly across the shoulders (look out for next month's features on travel and bags)
• Bend arms 90 degrees at the elbow and swing in time with the opposite leg. This balances the body
• Point chin down and pull in slightly to place neck in a neutral position. This supports the head and prevents neck pain
• Check hips are level; knees pointing forwards. Keeping pelvis tucked under the torso
• Check steps are of equal length – take advantage of when it rains and look at the foot prints
• Don't tilt you head to one side, hold it straight
• Don't slump your shoulders
• Don't strike the ground with your toe first, use your heel first, the feel the pressure roll towards the balls of your feet, then push off your toes
Here's just something especially for the ladies – how to walk in high heels!!!