The Right Pair Of Shoes For Postural Support
Shoes with good support are necessary for maintaining good posture. The feet are the base of support for the body. When the feet are not properly supported, it affects the postural framework of the rest of the body.
Proper shoes not only provide comfort to the low back and the lower body, but also help to prevent feet problems such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation in the tissues on the sole of the foot), fallen arches, hammertoes (where the toes curl up and become painful), and abnormal muscular strain.
Shoes should fit to the arch length of the foot with arch support. The overall length should be adequate to avoid cramming the toes or rubbing the heels. A shoe that is too narrow is uncomfortable and can cause blisters, whereas a wide shoe causes lack of support to the foot.
The thickness and flexibility of the sole of the shoe are important factors, as well as the heel counter (the stiff material at the heel of the shoe designed to support the heel of the foot). The absence of a stiff counter in the heel allows the foot to deviate inward of outward, creating postural distortion patterns through the lower leg and then ultimately through the rest of the body.
In order to have good lateral (side) support, you want to have a shoe that has laces or velcro. This is especially important if you are going out walking or shopping, or anytime where you are going to be on your feet for an extended period.
High heels cause your weight to shift onto your toes and the higher the heel the further forward you are thrust. This commonly causes pain in the ball of the foot and toes. Over time it can lead to hammer toes, as well as shortening of the Achilles tendon, calf, hamstring and buttock stiffness and postural problems in your lower back, and in fact right up to your neck!
Sometimes it might be necessary to have orthotics. An orthotic is a custom insert made specifically for your foot that is designed to provide both support for your foot when standing, and control of your foot motion when moving. Orthotics can be of great benefit, however, they may not be necessary if it’s possible to correct your posture with other postural correction strategies.
Shoes with adequate postural support should have the following features:
• They should provide adequate arch support and are not flat.
• They should be flexible, supportive, lightweight, and fit well.
If the soles of the shoe are worn, or the shoe has lost its shape, it’s time to buy a new pair!
Of course wearing high heels is not recommended, but there are times where it is necessary. Try and wear as smaller heel as you can, and wear practical carry another pair of shoes to get you to and from the venue.
*We write regular articles on topics related to posture and balance. You can read them by clicking the menu item ‘Posture’ to the right.
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