Dr. Taglio is here today to share great information for you to use the next time your family members need new shoes. Besides style and fit, consider her tips for finding shoes that will prevent back problems.
Buy Shoes That Won’t Wreck Your Family’s Spine
Good shoes are hard to come by and it feels so good to find the perfect pair, doesn’t it? I find it very difficult to find shoes that are supportive, comfortable, biomechanically correct and stylish at the same time! Typically, a shoe that is good for your feet biomechanically, is not always the most fashionable. This is a regular complaint I hear from both women and men, so it is no wonder foot pain so common. Gorgeous shoes can make or break an outfit, but that is not the only thing they’ll break. Poorly designed shoes are not only hard on your feet, but they can wreak havoc on your spine and the rest of your body. Improper footwear puts stress on ankles, knees, hips and spine translating into imbalance, fatigue, soreness and pain. Your feet influence your spine from the ground up. Shoes are not just accessories, they help protect so much more than just your feet.
Get The Right Shoes
Have Your Feet Measured Properly - Each time you shop for shoes, have your foot remeasured to make sure they fit properly, the right length and width for your foot.
Look For Proper Support - Most flip flops, sandals and heels do not provide good foot support. With flip flops, especially, you are forced to shorten your stride, curl your toes to keep them on and your foot contacts the ground in an unnatural way, causing the leg to rotate. This type of unnatural foot stride puts pressure and strain on the feet, knees, hips and spine and can lead to misalignments. Look for a shoe with good support in the arch and sole and make sure to spend a good amount of time wearing them and walking around in them before purchasing them.
Consider Orthotics - Orthotics can help support your arches and prevent dysfunction of the lower body, legs and spine. You can pick up a decent pair at REI or a running shoe store, such as Fleet Feet, or have them custom made for your individual foot at a specialized arch support store.
Ditch the Heels - I know you didn’t want to hear that (or maybe you did). Wearing heels is like walking up a steep hill. The calves are constantly flexed/shortened, changing posture significantly, causing lower body fatigue. In heels, your chest is pushed forward, pelvis tilts up (affecting the spine and hips), low back is pushed forward, pressure is placed on the knees and weight shifts to the balls of the feet. If I am honest, I will tell you, I wear heels from time to time, but only on special occasions that last a few hours and never for the everyday shoe. Extended wear of heels can actually cause your posture and anatomy to change in order to compensate for unbalanced forces. Yes, there are so many cute heels, but they are unkind to our feet and contribute to arch collapse, ankle stress, instability and sprains, as well as pelvic imbalances and low back pain. The higher the heel, the greater the amount of stress placed on your forefoot, leading to poor foot biomechanics and bunions.
Your Children’s Feet - Toddlers have very pliable bones which do not fully ossify until age 13-15, so abnormal pressure on them from wearing improper (rigid and compressive) shoes, can result in foot deformities. As a child is learning to walk, letting them go barefoot is best, when indoors. Walking without shoes will help the foot develop its muscular strength and grow normally, as well as encourage the grasping action of the toes. For walking outdoors, soft, lightweight footwear made of natural materials, such as leather or mesh, can be worn. As your child grows, shoe and sock size may need to be adjusted every 2-3 months. If your child seems unstable or walking is difficult or uncomfortable, you may need to have your child evaluated for an underlying defect or condition which may require treatment. Walking patterns of your child should be observed. Does your child toe-in or toe-out, have knock knees or other gait abnormalities? If detected early, these issues can be corrected. In addition, kiddos with troublesome feet may walk awkwardly, usually have poor posture and as a result may develop insecurities, shyness and introversion, avoiding athletics and social activities.
Get Your Feet Adjusted! - With 26 bones in each foot, they are built extremely well for a lot of different movements as well as walking and running. With each step you take, your heel plants, you roll forward and your arch collapses for energy absorption, then as you toe off and push yourself forward, the arch gets rigid and transmits force back into the feet and toes for movement. When the bones and joints in your feet are not moving and gliding the way they should or are misaligned, your posture compensates and affects the entire body. Each joint needs to be in proper working order so that the correct information gets transmitted from your feet to your brain and then back again. The highest concentration of proprioceptors (sensors in your tissues that tell you where your body is in space) is in your feet. If your feet are stiff and rigid, the bones are not moving properly, It is not only a source of foot pain, but this can turn off proprioceptors in that area affecting balance.
Lack of joint motion in your feet and ankles contributes to injuries in other parts of the body. Aligning the bones of the foot allows your foot to move freer, improves proprioception and helps prevent injury. You will have improved awareness of symmetry, where you are stepping and how your body is balancing. The biggest difference my patients notice, is they have less stiffness, injuries recover faster and their movement and performance is more efficient.
Your feet are important, don’t neglect them!
As a wife and mother of two active little boys, Dr. Taglio understands that life is busy and can easily get out of balance. She knows how important healthy habits are in maintaining a healthy family. She is committed to addressing the whole body and takes a multi-pronged approach to improving the function of the nervous system, by removing nerve interference through chiropractic, addressing nutritional components and incorporating neuromuscular re-education to maintain spinal health and stability. She has made it her mission to help people not only feel great, but also help them reach their highest potential, in whatever their endeavors are. She has a love for children and their healing through chiropractic and nutrition.
The opinions expressed here represent those of the author. California Family Fitness will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Always consult your physician before beginning any nutrition or exercise program.