Opinion

Thiel: Proper fitting shoes are essential

I have written in the past about how important a good mattress is for not only a good sleep but also for your health.

Obviously, mattresses are for your sleeping hours. What is most important during your waking hours, is the quality of your shoes.

Just as the mattress is our foundation while we sleep, or shoes are our foundation while awake.

I, like many of you, am on my feet all day.

If I have a proper pair of shoes that support my feet and allow me to comfortably move throughout my day, my legs and back will not feel tired at the end of the day.

The reason for this is that there are many propriceptors, or position sensors, in our feet.

Ill-fitting shoes that do not support the arches of the foot and allow for proper freedom of movement will make the legs, pelvic muscles and lower back muscles work much harder than they really need to.

We all have a cheap pair of flip-flops at home.  Try this test. Put on your flip-flops and walk up your stairs five times.

Notice how hard your legs are working to carry you up and down the stairs. Note the tension in your low back and legs Now put on a good pair of running shoes and do the same.

Invariably, you will notice that you feel much stronger moving up and down the stairs with the better fitting pair of shoes.

Note the tension in your low back and pelvic muscles.

I have about seven different pairs of dress shoes for clinic.  I usually will only wear three of them because they are of better quality shoe and they therefore support my feet better.

Poor fitting shoes or shoes with little support make your legs and back work much harder than they really need to, causing excessive fatigue.

Good shoes are like a good handshake. There is no mistaking the good ones from the weak ones.

Your shoes should be comfortable immediately when you put them on.  They should have good support for arches and allow the front of the foot to splay when weight-bearing, this is especially true during the toe off phase of your walking cycle.

The shoe should bend at the exact position where your foot bends as you toe off.

If you are active, running or walking more than three times a week, do not forget to replace your shoes approximately every six months.

They may look fine, but by six months time they have lost their structural integrity and cannot give you the support they first did when you purchased them.

If you’re a long-distance runner, it’s important to have your feet and gait cycle assessed by an expert who will fit you with the proper shoe.

Doctors of chiropractic are licensed to assess and prescribed orthotics to maximize foot mechanics.

This does not mean that everyone with two feet should get orthotics.

Not everybody needs them.

But for those who do, they make a world of difference.

The strength of your legs, pelvic and low back muscles will only be as strong as the shoes you put on your feet.

Take your time, be prepared to spend some money and find the perfect fit.

Ask for help if you need it. It sounds like a little thing, but it is not.

It will help you put your best foot forward throughout the day—pun intended.

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