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How to Select Shoes That Will Properly Protect Your Feet

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How to Select Shoes That Will Properly Protect Your Feet

Can’t wait to get home, slip off your shoes and put your aching feet up? 

Most Americans will experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Oftentimes, foot pain isn’t the result of an injury or health condition, but simply shoes that don’t fit right or provide proper support.

Your foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and 126 muscles. It’s easy to see how improper foot care could cause problems for something so complex.

Cooper Clinic Preventive Medicine Physician and avid runner Riva Rahl, MD, explains how to choose the right shoes for your foot.

Buying Shoes
If a pair of shoes doesn’t feel great when you first try it on, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will feel better after wearing those shoes for eight or nine hours at a time. Yes, some shoes do stretch or mold to your feet with wear, but for the most part, a pair of shoes should be comfortable when you buy them.

It is also wise to try shoes on at the end of the day, rather than in the morning. Our feet tend to swell as the day goes on. Even a little swelling can make your shoes fit much tighter. If you try a pair of shoes on in the evening when your feet should be their biggest, you can be sure they’ll still fit right after a long day.

Heels or Flats
Women: it is always better to wear a flat than a heel. That being said, many women are limited in the type of shoe they can wear to work due to dress code in the workplace. If your job requires any walking at all, or if you have to walk any distance from your car to your office, wear athletic shoes on the way in and only slip the heels on when you must.

Heels squeeze the toes inward, putting a lateral pressure on your foot. Additionally, the more the heel is elevated, the more pressure will be put on the metatarsal bones (the ball of your foot). This undue stress can cause mild to moderate discomfort or, more seriously tendonitis or a stress fracture.

Dr. Rahl says she generally wears open-toed flats, and if she does wear heels, they are never more than one-quarter of an inch high. The moment she can, she changes into her athletic shoes. “I can’t afford to have bad feet!” she says.

If you find a quality, comfortable pair of heels that don’t cause you foot strain or pain, you shouldn’t have to replace them frequently. You can replace the heel on many brands of quality made heels, allowing you to wear them for years.

Choosing Workout Shoes
The best way to find the right workout shoes is to go to a specialty running store. Tell the experts in the store specifically what you are looking for (walking shoes, running shoes, marathon training shoes, etc.) and your budget and let them do their job.

They will look at your feet, examine your current shoes to see wear patterns and watch you walk or jog around the store in order to select a pair of shoes that have the support and range of motion you need.

Wearing athletic shoes that don’t fit properly could result in serious foot pain or even injuries. Buying the first pair of athletic shoes is most time consuming. Once you find the type of athletic shoes you need, you can order from the catalog or online for new shoes.

Unlike heels, walking or running shoes need to be replaced more often. Keep track of how far you run or walk in your athletic shoes and replace them once they reach 750 to 1,000 miles. If your feet start to ache in your athletic shoes or the tread starts to wear off, those are two signs it’s time for a new pair.

If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, place a soft gel heel lift in your day-to-day shoes and athletic shoes to remove some of the strain on your foot.

Even if your shoes look good, they aren’t worth the pain. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can throw of your knees, hips and back, causing you more than just foot pain. Minimize the time you will spend in uncomfortable shoes as much as possible.

For more prevention health tips from Cooper Aerobics professionals, click here.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.