Written by: Cindy Martin, PT, OCS
Our feet are one of the most over-used parts of our bodies, and because of this they are frequently injured and painful. Having been a runner most of my life, I have experienced many injuries, and the ones that have been the most difficult to recover from have been foot and ankle injuries. This is an area where the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is proved true over and over again. Take care of your feet, and they will take care of you!
Why Do My Feet Hurt So Bad?
The foot is a very complex structure, with multiple joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels throughout. Stress on these tissues is usually caused by overuse (either by standing for long periods at work or in sporting activities), and this overuse is worsened when we are overweight. The natural construction of the foot is an arch, and that arch is meant to support the entire weight of the body. When, because of the structure of the foot we were born with or because of wear and tear over time, this arch starts to lose its stability, the consequences can cause significant problems in our knees, hips and low back.
What Can I Do?
One of the most important things we can do for our feet is to wear shoes that offer some support for the arch of the foot. A good pair of shoes can not only decrease pain once it starts, it can also decrease wear and tear over time. These shoes should have good shock absorption and good support for your arches. One thing to keep in mind, though… the shock absorbing properties of these shoes don’t last forever. If you run, expect to get about 6 months out of your shoes; if you don’t run, you will probably be able to wear your shoes for about one year before you start to notice that they are not as supportive as they once were. Make sure to replace your shoes on this schedule to make sure you continue to get the support you need.
Good shoes may be expensive, but I’ve found that in the long run (or walk!), they are well worth the money. Invest in a good pair of shoes, and replace them regularly to help your feet keep you walking on for years to come!