Why Supportive Shoes are So Important for Your Feet
Here’s a shocking fact: wearing supportive shoes could be the most important decision you make for your feet. Unless your shoes support your feet properly, you’ll face a domino effect of problems, starting with pain but possibly escalating to chronic conditions or even fractures. Want to protect your feet and keep walking comfortably? Read this post to learn how to pick the perfect shoes for any activity. But first, let’s get a closer look at what happens when you decide to wear shoes that aren’t supportive.
Non-Supportive Shoes: The Problem with Flats and Flip Flops
One of the most critical features of any shoe is the arch support, and that’s why wearing very flat styles such as ballet slippers or flip-flops can be a major problem. Without proper arch support, something as simple as walking can put tremendous pressure on your plantar fascia. (That’s the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot.) Under that pressure, it can stretch abnormally, leaving you with inflammation and terrible heel pain.
But the problems don’t stop there. When you wear flip-flops, that forces your toes to grip so your shoes won’t slip and slide while you walk. In turn, this forces the muscles in your legs to work over time. And that can cause muscle pain or injuries such as shin splints. Over time, this strain may even lead to physical changes in your body, leaving you with conditions such as hammertoes.
Finally, if you wear these unsupportive shoes on days when you spend too long on your feet, your injury could get more serious—you could even develop a stress fracture! How could that be possible? Well, when shoes’ soles are thin, they don’t offer shock absorption while you move. As a result, the full force of a long day on your feet hits their delicate bones, in some cases causing enough damage to leave you with a hairline crack.
Clearly, it’s important to pick supportive shoes for your everyday activities. Yet it’s even more crucial to pick proper footwear when you’re engaged in more intense activities—especially when playing sports or exercising. Otherwise, you could face even more serious concerns than the ones we’ve already reviewed.
Supportive Athletic Footwear
When you’re playing sports, your feet face far more pressure than they do on a normal day. Sudden direction changes, artificial surfaces such as turf, and sudden starts and stops dramatically increase your risk for ankle sprains, torn ligaments, and hard-to-heal injuries such as Jones fractures. For that reason, picking a generic pair of supportive shoes isn’t enough to prevent sports injuries. Instead, you’ll need to look for shoes specifically designed to support the moves of your chosen form of exercise.
Runners need to select lighter shoes that have plenty of flexibility. At the same time, the shoes should have lots of traction on the soles, to keep you from slipping during training. Finally, look for pairs that provide additional cushioning and stability to help reduce your risk for running injuries.
When you hit the court, you’ll have to quickly change directions as you cut to the hoop then fall back on defense. Unfortunately, these quick shifts put lots of pressure on your ankles. That’s why most ball players prefer high tops, for added ankle stability designed to prevent rolling injuries.
Football or Soccer
When you’re playing on turf or grass, you’ll need to swap supportive shoes for cleats. These shoes are designed to keep you stable on unforgiving or slippery surfaces. But, if not fitted properly, they can actually harm your feet, as their hard exterior shell can lead to black or ingrown toenails if your feet slide around and slam into the end of the shoe. Furthermore, it’s important to select pairs that aren’t too stiff, since they can leave you with foot and heel pain, especially if you spend lots of time wearing the cleats on the field.
While proper fitting is critical for preventing sports injuries, it’s equally important for everyday foot gear. Now, if you think that’s obvious, think again—in a study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, researchers revealed that up to 72% of people in the US wear the wrong size shoe for their feet. And that can cause a whole host of problems. But how can you tell if you’re one of the majority of Americans wearing the wrong shoe size? Here are some clear signs that it’s time to get those feet measured again.
Effects of Wearing Supportive Shoes That Aren’t the Right Size
If you’re wearing shoes with an ill-fitting toe box then your toes will give you the first cry for help. If the shoe is too tight, your toenails may change color or even detach, because of the pressure the toes experience from getting pressure along the shoe edge.
Blisters are another sign of a shoe that’s too big—or too small. If you wear a size too large for your feet, they’ll slide around in your shoes, causing blisters to form from the friction. At the same time, tight shoes will also rub against your feet, again leaving you with blisters.
Heel pain could also be a sign that your shoes don’t fit your specific foot type—especially if you have a flat foot or high arch. If you pick a shoe that doesn’t support your biomechanics, you could put pressure on your plantar fascia, and develop chronic heel pain. In some cases, choosing a shoe designed for your specific foot type can solve this problem. Other times, though, you’ll need the added support of a custom orthotic to prevent pain and other complications.
Finding the Right Supportive Shoes
Now that you understand why it’s so important to wear supportive shoes that fit your feet—and your activity level—it’s time to learn how to get the right pair, with a little guidance from Dr. Lisa Brandy, your podiatrist in DeSoto, TX.
The first rule for finding supportive shoes is to try them on in real time, instead of shopping online. When you walk into the shoe store, you can get your feet professionally measured, and you can take a test run in the shoes, to make sure they fit comfortably.
Next, you need to seek the proper support for your specific foot type, whether you have a typical, high or low arch (also known as flat foot.) Not sure what kind of shoes you need to prevent foot pain and injury? We’re here to help! Just reach out to our office and schedule an appointment today!
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1801 N. Hampton Road
DeSoto, TX 75115