The shoes you wear can make a significant difference in how your body performs and how you feel.
The premise is simple: Anything that hurts your feet can damage other parts of your body. If your shoes fit well, you feel well. If your shoes are too tight, too high, or poorly made, you won’t.
If your feet hurt, so might your ankles, hips, and knees because the body works as a unit. When one part is off-kilter, others have to compensate. You start with painful feet and end up with a body in distress because you can’t move comfortably.
You can’t address the situation until you solve the problem. A podiatrist can help, of course, especially if you have plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or pronation.
And so can comfortable shoes.
Your shoes keep germs away from your feet. Wearing proper shoes will protect you from fungal problems that result in itching, swelling, and redness. These conditions can be uncomfortable and painful. And if you’re diabetic, you could get sores on your feet. That’s dangerous.
Shoes also keep your feet safe from injuries. Your daily habits take you to a lot of places. Some are clean, all are not. Harmful objects are everywhere. If you are a plumber, think about the sharp objects, glass, or rocks you’re liable to stumble on in something as enjoyable as a walk around the block. Shoes protect your feet from all of that.
Proper shoes give you better footing, too. They make walking on various surfaces a lot safer. Think about the rocks and another rough terrain you encounter on a hike. Or the icy surfaces you find yourself tackling in the dead of winter.
Furthermore, your posture is better when you wear the right shoes. These give you the support your body needs to walk upright. Orthotic shoes, especially, align your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back. That means less pain when you walk.
Comfortable shoes, especially orthotic ones, can help with foot conditions because they cushion and support the foot. So, many foot conditions can be reversed or eliminated. They also ease the pain of chronic foot conditions.
When you go shoe shopping, keep these things in mind:
• Are the heels too high? If so, they can cause problems like lower back pain.
• How flexible are the soles? Soles that aren’t flexible can keep your foot from articulating when you walk over bumps over the ground and such. As a result, small foot muscles atrophy and joints stiffen. Your feet will move more naturally with a more flexible sole.
• Did you know that nearly all North American shoes aren’t shaped like actual feet? Pointed toe shoes are a good example. Toes are supposed to be wider than the ball of your foot. Shoes that stuff your toes into a point squish them and can cause bunions and nerve problems. Wider toes give them room to spread out when you stand. That’s a lot more comfortable.
• Does your shoe fully attach to your foot? Shoes that don’t fasten to your feet make your toes work harder to grip the shoe. That creates strain, tension, and injuries.