Look down at your feet. What shoes are you wearing?
Living in Southern California, we get to experience a variety of climates and with that variety comes a variety of footwear. During the summer, flip flops. During the fall, boots. Then we have to consider the different shoes we wear for different activities. When running, running shoes. For field sports, cleats. But are the shoes you are wearing appropriate? Or are they causing more problems than you’d like to admit?
With our clinic being surrounded by schools, we see a lot of kids and teens. As we go through our initial evaluation with them, one of the areas we address is their footwear and more often that not, we see one major problem – footwear. While those very popular shoes may look good with your outfit, how flat they are and the lack of support they provide don’t help the healing process.
Why Do Shoes Matter?
One of the things that you’ll hear our physical therapists explain to their patients is how injuries work. When addressing an injury, they will often look at joints and muscles above and below the site of injury. In other words, while you may feel most of your pain in one area, the body parts directly above and below may also be a contributing factor. As an example, if you are being seen for a knee injury, they will oftentimes ask about any problems with your hip and/or ankle (up and down the chain). They may even go as far as asking if you have had any problems with your back.
Now we must think about your feet! Your feet are the lowest part of the chain and can be contributing to pain almost anywhere throughout your body and while your physical therapist may ask you to take off your shoes to look at the anatomy of your feet, they are also looking at your shoes.
Unless we are a professional surfer, lifeguard, or maybe just prefer to be barefoot, most of us wear shoes throughout the majority of the day. The shoes we choose to wear need to provide ample support for every activity we participate in or other areas of our body may begin to suffer.
So, what shoes are appropriate based on your activity? Let’s dive in!
The shoes you SHOULD wear differ depending on a few things including your anatomical structure and the activity you are participating in. While we would love to address everyone’s anatomical structure, without seeing you in person, we cannot give you the best recommendation. However, we can give you recommendations based on your activity.
What shoes should you wear when walking & running?
Just because a specific shoe brand is trendy, popular, or cute, it doesn't necessarily mean it's great for your feet!
When asked what shoe you should wear when walking or running, our Physical Therapists will evaluate your foot mechanics and provide a recommendation based upon your foot anatomy. Some people over pronate and need a more supportive stability shoe. Some people have high arches and do not need that. Some people may need a wider toe box if they need to relieve pressure on a neuroma or bunion.
Sometimes, athletic shoes with good support are not enough. When that is the case, try a pair of SuperFeet for additional support.
What shoes should you wear for everyday activities?
Most adults will be okay if we recommend different shoes. However, kids can be a different story! We all know they are going to want to wear what's trendy to school! Instead of losing the battle altogether, encourage your kids to wear a more supportive shoe after school.
As for adults, if you can avoid wearing a shoe with a narrow toe box, you will save your feet some discomfort!
Trying to find the perfect shoe can be a chore! However, with the help of a Physical Therapist or Podiatrist, you can find a shoe that is the right fit for YOU. And, although they may not be the most fashion forward, your body will thank you in the long run.
Want to meet with one of our Physical Therapists to see what shoe is best for you? Schedule an injury assessment at either of our locations.