By Katie Greeley BS, DC
Chiropractic – The Right Shoes Makes a Difference
A typical day at the park with my kids starts with the kids enjoying themselves, and I begin to people-watch. I play a game in my head with the way people walk, or their gait. Do they have hips turned in? Is there a shortened leg or do they lean to one side or the other?
Then I glance down at the shoes, thinking, “How is the wear?” Are they wearing the proper shoes for their activity? And so on. As with many of us, I carry my profession with me wherever I go, which is why I am aware of the way people walk.
Children and Shoes
In my office, the first thing I look at in new walkers and children is their gait. As parents, most of us have accepted the fact that genetics makes us “pigeon-toed” or “bow-legged.”
From my experience, if we keep our child’s hip and pelvic muscles and joints balanced with each growth spurt, this will be evident in his or her gait.
The next thing I look at is the shoe. It is important to fit the foot to the shoe and it is important to know what kind of foot you have. There are three types of feet: supinated, neutral, and flat.
The supinated foot usually has a high arch and the footprint is in the shape of a C. The neutral foot has a slight semi-curved arch and has a symmetrical footprint. The flat foot or hypopronated foot has little or no arch and tends to have a wider and straighter footprint.
Test your Foot for Proper Shoes
Take a brown paper bag, wet your foot, make a footprint and observe. Once you know your foot shape, you are ready to purchase your walking or running shoe. A person with a high arched foot should look for narrower shoes that curve at the end. Someone with a neutral foot needs shoes with a semi curve, and the flat footed person requires a shoe with little or no curve or “motion controlled.”
If your foot falls in between the arch types or you cannot seem to find a shoe that feels right, then orthotics or supports may help to define the arches. When you start to notice uneven wear on your running shoes, it is time for some new ones. If your hip and pelvic areas are in balance, this wear and tear will be slower to accumulate.
Tips for Purchasing Supportive Shoes
What about other shoes like dress shoes for women? Here are some tips when you are shopping or choosing shoes for work.
- Buy shoes early in the day since swelling tends to occur as the day progresses.
- If you are going to be on your feet all day, especially in heels, make sure the heel is a low one with as much surface area as possible, like a wedge or platform.
- Shoes don’t break in, so if they do not fit when you try them on, buy the larger size.
- Know your arch type. In heels, high arches need a cushion in the midsole. Flat feet need a firmer, more supportive midsole.
Wearing the right type of shoes will help support your body and keep you walking tall for years to come.
About the Author:
Dr. Katie Greeley is a board-certified doctor of chiropractic and a mother of two living in Simi Valley, California. She has completed extended courses on pediatrics above and beyond the regular doctorate degree. Her office, United Family Chiropractic Center, is located in Wood Ranch at 1070 Country Club Drive West, Suite D, in Simi Valley, California. The office can be reached at (805) 522-2324.