I read this article published in our physiotherapy news bulletin and thought it well worth sharing. Looking after your feet is so important but often overlooked. I have extracted the key points for you…
Along with swimming, walking is a hero in the low-impact exercise stakes – meaning it can be a great option when injuries or health problems are an issue – and there’s tons of research highlighting its effectiveness, from helping ward off major illnesses like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, to reducing depression.
It’s important to remember walking, like any other form of exercise, can potentially put the body under strain.
So all the usual rules about suitable footwear, warming up and not ignoring those niggling aches and pains apply. “Suitable footwear is certainly an important consideration but largely depends on the terrain you are covering,” said Phil Morel of Wimbledon Physiotherapy Clinic
Strenuous walking will load the body heavily, particularly the lower back and lower limbs.
“Loading the body’s tissues will in the main lead to positive adaptation and we become fitter and stronger – but overloading our tissues can lead to injury and pain.
“Factors influencing overload may be walking speed, duration and frequency, as well as body weight, biomechanics and terrain. It’s important to build up gradually to strenuous work, which allows time to adapt and protect against injury.”
“When you think about it, every step you take starts with your feet, as the ground reaction forces that go through your body when you walk start underfoot,” said James Naylor, national sales manager for orthopaedic footwear specialists SOLE UK.
“Most people suffering from pain just accept these niggles but if the pain’s bad enough, they’ll generally seek out a chiropractor or book a massage.
Foot pain is a problem
“Those can be helpful solutions but having proper support in your footwear can help prevent many of these conditions from developing.”
Overuse injury, and beginning a new activity without proper preparation, can contribute to common problems like plantar fasciitis (heel pain), heel spurs and shin splints.
Footbeds can help improve posture, which often plays a key role in keeping you in good condition and pain-free from head to toe.
I have always recommended suitable ‘footbeds’, also known as supportive insoles, for sports and all walking activities.
You can buy them from good sports shops and can get them custom made. The ‘useful links page on this website gives contact details for the Podiatrist and Orthotists’ websites that can direct you to local professionals that make insoles.
A good foundation is the key to building good posture and movement in whatever tasks you do, plus they make footwear comfortable and supportive…so why not give them a try!