Most of us are guilty of buying sneakers and footwear based on style and personal taste rather than function and support. But no two pairs of feet are created equal, and investing in the right pair of shoes for your foot type and orthopedic needs is one of the most important factors in minimizing your risk of pain and injuries. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to make sure that your feet are getting enough support, especially during exercise and physical activity.
Know Your Type: Start with the Arch
There are three basic arch types: neutral, high, and low. If you have a neutral arch or gait, your foot is properly aligned and the weight and shocks of every step you take and distributed evenly, making it less likely that you'll succumb to common foot problems like plantar fasciitis
, which is one of the leading causes of heel pain.
If you have a high arch (also known as cavus foot), the heel and ball of the foot bear an excessive amount of weight and pressure when you move, increasing the risk of repetitive strain injuries, inflammation, and pain. A low arch (or flat foot) usually causes the ankles to roll in towards each other when you walk or run (overpronation). Overpronators need additional support to keep the arches in alignment so that your heels and the balls of your feet are not working over time. You can buy sneakers with additional support, or your podiatrist may recommend custom molded orthotics
Signs You Are Wearing the Wrong Shoes for Your Feet
The most common symptom of a problem is pain, usually in the heels or the balls of your feet. However, if you're working out or walking around in shoes that don't offer enough support, you can also experience pain in other parts of your body in the form of shin splints, knee, or hip pain.
Here are a few more signs that it might be time to invest in a different pair of sneakers:
- Pain (heels, arches, or other parts of the feet)
- Bruised toenails, toenail loss
- Corns, calluses, or blisters
- The soles of the shoes are visibly more worn on one side than the other
How to Figure Out Your Foot Type
Most sporting goods and athletic apparel stores offer a complimentary gait analysis, where you will walk in your bare feet so that a salesperson can evaluate how your arch moves as you walk and recommend the types of shoes that will offer the most support according to your foot type and level of activity. There are also quick and easy tests
that you can perform at home if you are not sure of your foot type. If you have a very high or low arch, you can probably tell by looking at your foot, however, getting a professional analysis is always the best way to make sure you're getting the support you need to avoid pain and injuries.
When to See a Foot Doctor
A few aches and pain are common and normal, but you should never ignore ongoing heel or ankle pain, or symptoms like swelling or limited range of motion. If your pain or symptoms don't clear up in a few days or after rest and self-care methods like icing, schedule a foot exam to make sure you're not suffering from an injury.
Don't let pain get in the way of your physical activity and daily life. Contact us today to schedule your consultation
in our podiatry office in Clifton, NJ.