The health of your feet and joints is greatly affected by the shoes you wear. If your shoes are too tight, too loose or not supportive enough, your physical activity can put pressure on your feet, ankles, lower legs and other joints. This constant pressure can contribute to pain and injury. Wearing the right shoes is critical to reducing joint pain and reducing your chance of injury.

right shoes to reduce joint pain

How the wrong shoes can affect your feet, legs and joints? 

Poor footwear can contribute to common sports injuries such as shin splints, Achilles tendon pain, corns and bunions, ingrown nails or postural deformities and lower back pain. Such injuries can significantly limit or stop your activities. 

The risk of injury can be increased if your shoes are not appropriate for your activity, conditions, or for your body mass or foot mechanics. For example, there are different requirements for running on the street and for sports. 

Wearing the wrong shoe can aggravate existing problems such as pain or arthritis in the hips, knees, ankles or feet. Even a short time in the wrong shoes can cause stress and pain to your bones and joints and the soft tissues that support them. For example, if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time on a regular basis. 

Your shoes can have a significant impact on how you walk. The movement of your feet with each step affects how the rest of your body follows. The correct way to walk is heel-to-toe. The goal of this movement is for your feet to absorb shock and minimise stress on other joints. 

Some types of shoes are more damaging than others. High heeled shoes, for example, are designed so that the toes point downward, putting the foot at an angle and putting the entire weight of the body on it. This forces the foot, leg and back muscles out of alignment, damaging not only the delicate bones in the feet and the muscles in the legs, but also the lower back and even the neck and shoulder.

How do you choose the right shoes? 

The right footwear can help keep your feet healthy, make your physical activity easier and protect your body from injury. Here are some to consider: 

  • Cushion the foot– the midsole is the main part of the shoe that provides cushioning. Surprisingly, shoes do not particularly reduce the force that goes through the body. But they do increase the time that this force acts, giving the body time to adapt.
  • Supports the foot– your shoe should aid the alignment of your foot when it touches the ground.
  • Feels comfortable– your shoe should feel immediately comfortable from the first wear.
  • Fits well– make sure you have at least 1‒1.5cm at the end of the shoe. It should be wide enough and long enough to fit your feet. The shoe should feel snug but not tight.
  • Specific shoe for specific activities – you should wear shoes that are suitable for that sport. There are special shoes for tennis, golf, soccer, netball, running, cycling and other sports. Each has a different design, material and weight to best protect the feet from the stresses of the activity. 

The impact of every step you take transfers first to your feet and ankles, then to your knees, and finally to your hips and back. If your steps are not properly cushioned and supported, there is a good chance you will experience joint pain. Shoes that do not fit properly or alter your posture and gait can also affect your joints and cause pain. Anyone suffering from underlying conditions, such as existing injuries or illnesses that put them at increased risk for joint and back pain, should take extra precautions to wear the right shoes. It is also recommended that they seek professional help to relieve and treat joint pain and rehabilitate injuries.

 

If you are already struggling with joint and muscle pain from injury, illness or wearing the incorrect shoes, reach out to The Back Clinic. Their therapists specialize in helping patients identify, manage and treat their conditions and pain. Contact them on 0630975603 or via email at info@thebackclinic.co.za

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