By Dr. Randi-Lee Joy, Chiropractor

Summer is here and most everyone has increased their activity and exercise routines.  That totally great!  That said, do you know how important it is to have good shoes to decrease your chance of foot, knee, hip and low back pain?

First, if you haven’t purchased a new pair of shoes in over a year, it is time to treat yourself to a new pair.  Most standard running shoes are supposed to be replaced after 500 miles or 800 kilometers.  Wearing your shoes for too long is a common cause of injuries like shin splints, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.  If after six months to a year you start to feel more aches and pains in your feet and knees, it’s time for a new shoe.

Consider the following tips before you purchase your next pair of athletic shoes:

1) It is important to wear the shoe that is specific to the sport you are playing.

Running shoes are great for heel to toe strike but do not provide the lateral support needed for aerobic class or tennis.  For these sports you need side-to-side stability and less flexibility from heel to toe.  Find a shoe that is specific to that these sports or, if you can’t, a cross-trainer will work.  Walking shoes allow the foot to roll naturally and have a much more rigid arch and stiffer heel support for stability.

2) Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes.  The staff is usually trained to help support you in finding the shoe that is right for you.  They will be able to recommend a shoe that matches your foot type, activity and gait.

3) When shopping for shoes, go later in the day.  The feet tend to swell after being on them all day and you want to accommodate for this.  Also, bring along a pair of socks that you would usually wear in the shoe.

If you wear orthotics do bring them along to make sure the shoes can accommodate them and are appropriate for support.

4) Get your feet measured every time!  Both length and width are important.  Our feet change as we grow older, gain or lose weight or have children.  One foot is usually half a size bigger than the other so you want to fit the shoe to the bigger foot. Make sure to measure your foot in the weight-bearing position because the foot flattens out when standing.

Proper fit is important.  If the shoe fits you should have an index finger’s width between the end of your longest toe and the shoe.  The toe box should have adequate room and should not be tight.  The heel should fit snuggly in the back and should not be slipping.

5) Take some time and walk around the store. Run if you are comfortable. Really get a feel for the shoe while it’s on your foot.  If possible try to wear the shoe for at least 10 minutes to make sure it still feels comfortable.  Some stores will have a return policy where you can try shoes at home or a treadmill and as long as you don’t wear them outside you can return them if there is a problem.

6) Try many different brands of shoes to see what works best for you.  There is no one shoe or brand that is best for everyone.  Choose what works best for your foot type. If you feel like you have to “break” in the shoes than the shoe is not right for you. It should be comfortable from the moment you put it on

If you continue to have aches and pain even after you purchase a new shoe, book an appointment with your Chiropractor.  We are trained to assess the foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back and can treat ongoing injuries.

If you would like Dr. Joy to assess your foot type and gait, please call Innate Health Centre to book an appointment – 416-760-9424.

Yours in good health,

Dr. Randi Joy