At The Physical Therapy Place, even when you come in for a non-foot injury, we might still talk about your shoes. Why do we do that?
Your body is a whole system. The place we feel pain is simply the spot getting the most abuse. Ligaments, muscles, bursa - they don’t just get sprained, strained, or inflamed for fun. They get irritated and injured because our body, as a whole system, is putting too much load on that area.
If we treat your pain region only, without changing the pattern of your whole system, then we have merely managed your symptoms and not fixed your problem. Then it may only be a matter of time before your problem comes back.
So back to shoes… Think about the activities you do that might trigger your pain or problem. Reaching, bending, lifting, squatting… etc. During which of those activities are your feet on the ground? We spend a lot of time, with our feet on the ground (or floor), loading our non-feet body parts.
While standing (or sitting) reach as far forward as you can without falling. Notice how your center of gravity changes and the pressure on your feet changes. The same is true for reaching to one side. Your hips move, your spine changes, your shoulders, arms and neck all adjust, and so do your feet. The same will be true for getting up from sitting, lifting, and walking. Try it. Your body will move as you change position and your weight will shift through your feet. Now, do all that without your feet on the ground. You can’t reach as far. You definitely can’t get out of a chair, or walk, and it will be much harder to lift something. Feet matter. They are a key part of your whole body system.
Feet need to feel they are pushing against the floor to do their job so the rest of your body can work on a stable foundation. Feet need to “feel” the ground. Bad shoes make it harder to push against the floor and “feel” that stable base. Try jumping (and landing) in a pair of four inch heels and you will see what I mean. Good shoes help create that stable base. But don't wait until you are in pain. Get in good shoes today!
How do you know what shoes are good? Below is a link for the shoe guide we like to use from the Hruska Clinic in Lincoln, Nebraska. This guide will show you how to choose good shoes (they don’t have to be sneakers) and list some great options to try.
Also below is the link to Skinny Raven, a running shoe store, here in Anchorage. They offer some of the shoes on the list.
Good shoes: Don’t leave home without them!