How to protect your feet by choosing the right footwear for Autumn
Autumn brings with it changes in outside temperatures, changes in the colours of the leaves, changes in vegetation and changes in the length of daylight.Are you ready for all this change?
Do you love to go for walks in a local park in your neighbourhood and hear the rustle of leaves under your feet?
Fall is my personal favourite season. It’s a time when the kids are back in school, and we all settle into a daily routine.
So how important is footwear to this new routine?
Every year I have patients asking me what type of boot they should wear to help with their foot or knee pain. Of course, the colder weather means we begin to wear closed-toed shoes and boots. What I tell my patients is that these different types of footwear have an impact on our feet but also impact the rest of our body including our spines.
In this post we will explain why choosing the right footwear is so important for protecting your feet as we move into Autumn. We will provide you with a Footwear Quiz so you can evaluate what you are wearing now. We will also give you tips on how to choose better footwear. And finally, we will share the top three exercises that we give to our patients when they tell us they have foot or knee pain.
What type of boot is best? Which is better zipper or slip on?
I am asked this question by so many of my patients. Let’s break it down and talk about what boots do to your ankles and legs:
- Boots with heels cause your calves to be short and your hips to turn forwards. This means your spine must lean backwards so that you can walk straight upright. This puts a constant strain to the muscles of your back.
- Boots also limit the amount of bending at your ankle and that means your ankle joint can become stiff which can affect how you walk. This can often lead to knee and hip joint restrictions and pain.
- Softer shoes/boots that are made from soft fabrics may be warm and cozy, but they offer little to no support for your foot as it hits the ground over and over while you walk. This can lead to painful inflammation to the fascia at the bottom of your feet.
- Some boots/shoes slip on, and others have zippers while others have laces. Which ones are the best? The answer is…. It depends on how the boot/shoe fits your feet. Each person has a unique shape and size and flexibility of your feet. What is important is that the footwear does not restrict your movement nor put added pressure on areas of your feet. This can lead to joint restrictions, pressure points and tendonitis.
So how do I choose the right footwear? Try our quiz:
- Is the arch of the shoe thick enough to give support? – if it does not have enough, you can have arch support custom made to put into your footwear.
- Is the front of the shoe deep enough so the tops of your toes are not rubbing on the shoe
- Is the back of the shoe sturdy and cannot fold easily so that it will be protecting your heel and Achilles tendon.
- Can you bend the shoe in half so the front touches the back – this means the material is not giving you support on the inside and outside of your foot allowing your foot to slide around with every step.
- Can you twist the shoe at the arch? This means there is no arch support and with every step your foot is hitting the ground and absorbing all those forces into the bones of your feet.
Is the front of the shoe wide enough and not squeezing your toes together- you need this so your joints are not being compressed together which can lead to pressure on the nerves of your foot.
What exercises can I do at home to protect my feet?
Many people also ask me what exercise can help me get better or even better prevent having pain and inflammation. Of course, every person is unique so it’s best that you meet with a physiotherapist or chiropractor in person. But here are a few very important stretches that you can do.
Sit on a chair. Put your heel on a stool. Sit up tall and reach forward. Hold 30 sec x 3. Do 3 times a day. Stop if you feel any pain and ask your Chiropractor or Physiotherapist for help.
Lie on your back. Bring your leg up with knee straight up to a level with no pain. Now move your ankle so you are spelling each letter of the alphabet. Once done switch legs and repeat. Do 2x day. Stop if you feel any pain and ask your Chiropractor or Physiotherapist for help.
Stand facing a wall. One foot forward and one foot behind. The back leg has the knee straight and foot flat on the floor. Hold 30 sec x 3. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do 3 times a day. Stop if you feel any pain and ask your Chiropractor or Physiotherapist for help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is it ok to be barefoot at home?
Answer: If you are having foot/ankle/knee pain it is important that your foot has the support it needs while you are putting your weight on it. For example, standing in the kitchen cooking or walking up and down stairs repeatedly. These are times when there is a lot of pressure being put on your foot and ankle bones and joints. It is best to wear supportive shoes or sandals while at home and avoid being barefoot for most of the time you are at home. However, if you are relaxing with a book and a cup of hot chocolate then it’s totally fine to kick your shoes off and enjoy some fuzzy warm socks instead!
Question: Do I need a prescription from my doctor to get custom made orthotics?
Answer: Every insurance plan is different and so it is important that you call your insurance company to ask if they specifically need a doctor’s prescription for you to get paid back for buying a pair of orthotics. If you do need a prescription, we recommend that you do this BEFORE you order your orthotics. We have many years of experience in making orthotics. We can help you with any questions you have. And we will give you all the paperwork you need so you don’t have to worry. Just come on in and step on the force plate to see how your feet are working.
Question: How many treatments do I need from my chiropractor or physiotherapist to reduce my foot/ ankle pain?
Answer: We get asked this question all the time. And the answer depends on so many factors. For example, your age, any conditions you may have, if you have had a fracture or surgery, etc. etc. But most importantly the answer depends on WHAT YOUR GOAL is. If you want to return to high level sport, then we need time to give you the exercises you need. If you want to get better to go on vacation, then we will do our best to get you better, so you don’t miss your flight!
ABOUT 16th Ave Chiropractic and Physiotherapy
You have your own personal goals. Maybe you want to return to sport, work, recover from surgery or get ready for a vacation. After 40 years in Richmond Hill our highly trained and experienced chiropractors and physiotherapists know what treatment/exercises you need to help you reach your goals.