Are Your Shoes Making You Miserable?

Are you having back pain? Your feet play a very important role in how you feel. Many health issues involving pain are the result of foot problems. The alignment of your feet can directly effect the rest of your body. You visit a podiatrist and many times find out that your shoes are a big part, if not all, of the problem.

Shoes can make your day or break your day. I never realized how important proper shoes are for healthy feet. Whether they're the wrong size, too old or not the right type, they can put a hurting on your feet. I learned that the hard way. After coming home from an "all day at work", my feet were in such pain I could hardly walk. In my case, I believe the shoes were too old and the wrong type. They were casual walkers which were okay for walking but not the extra stress from the lifting and stooping I did at work. I'd hung on to those shoes for years. My thinking was,"It's only work, I don't need new shoes". When the inner cushion deteriorated my feet paid the price. I was ready for the podiatrist. If you want to have healthy feet, one important thing to remember is to have the proper shoes.

When it comes to shoes for exercise, the choices are overwhelming. But the bottom-line is simple. Shoes should fit well and feel comfortable. The right shoes offer both support and flexibility where you need it. They protect your bones, joints, and muscles, keeping your feet in healthy positions and absorbing shock.

Walking shoes are the most rigid and durable. But even for walking, many people prefer running shoes over walking shoes. That's no problem. Running shoes provide extra cushioning, which can feel good for walkers also. In fact, if you have high arches in your feet, running shoes may even be better because of their extra flexibility in the toe of the shoe.

Running shoes are geared for heel-to-toe movement. The extra cushioning in running shoes absorbs the shock and allows for smooth strides as you run. For low arches, look for strong arch support and a fairly straight cut along the inside edge of the sole. For high arches, look for moderate arch support and a more distinctive curve along the inside edge. 

Specialty shoes designed for tennis and similar sports offer maximum support from side-to-side. If you engage in a variety of athletic activities, you may be looking for a pair of cross-training or general purpose athletic shoes. And for aerobics of course you'll be considering aerobic shoes.

For proper fit, check for space at the end of your big toe. There should be enough to let you move without pinching. Women with wide feet can try men's shoes. These are usually cut wider. For starters, start with your own size, and subtract two. Proper fitting shoes should feel great on your feet. Don't shop by price alone, but do look for these characteristics: cushioning, stability, flexibility, shape, material and breathability.

When should you replace your shoes? Even if they feel okay, they may be losing their ability to cushion and support your feet after time. Rule of thumb: Replace running shoes after 500 miles, walking shoes after 1,000 miles, and aerobic shoes after about a year of regular use.

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