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Best Shoes for Indoor Workouts

In the winter, indoor workouts tend to be appealing to more people. While working out indoors, shoes are still an important consideration. Wearing the proper shoes is one of the best ways to avoid injury, even while exercising indoors.

Shoes can be easily forgotten during indoor workouts because not everyone will be walking all day in their athletic shoes. Rowing, cycling and weightlifting are some activities that may be performed without much thought in regards to footwear. However, these activities increase the demand on core muscles. This higher demand to the core will in turn shift the feet to absorb and support the change in body positions. Performing these activities barefoot may strain calf muscles and soft tissues in the feet. When overworked, you may experience pain and could strain a muscle. This may require weeks or even months of rehabilitation to correct, so prevention is the best medicine.

When looking for an appropriate shoe indoors, running shoes are a great choice as they work well for most activities. They are light weight, promote forward motion of the feet and contain many other features to help avoid injury. Here are a few great features to keep in mind:

Cushioning

A cushioned sole is great indoors, especially while on a treadmill or a hard surface. Cushioning will help to decrease pressure on your feet and legs during exercise. The shoe will help to absorb shock that the body may take on as a potential injury. Cushioning becomes very important during high impact activities, such as plyometrics, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and other jumping activities. If your feet and legs typically perform these exercises with shoes, they are not adapted to perform these exercises while barefoot.

Heel Counter

Another shoe feature that is highly recommended is a heel counter. The main purpose of the heel counter is to absorb the ground reaction forces when the foot makes contact with the ground. It also helps to prevent your heel from moving around excessively. Protecting the heel is important to reduce injury to the heel and the structures interacting with the heel. To test for a good heel counter in your shoe, push down on the back portion of the shoe. There should be some resistance, otherwise the heel counter is absent.

Arch Support

High impact workouts place higher stresses on the feet and require features that complement the exercise being done. In addition to cushioning to provide shock absorption, arch support is also important to avoid putting yourself at risk for injury. This arch support can be found in a couple different ways.

First, take a look at the stiffness at the midsole of the shoe (thick sole area). When the shoe is extremely flexible in the midsole, it increases the workload on your arch. Your arch contains your plantar fascia and other connective tissues, which are common areas of injury. Stability in the midsole is also important for side to side movements, as it will help to control motion in the legs and avoid injury to your ankles and knees.

Additional arch support through a foot orthotic may be necessary if the shoe is not enough. A foot orthotic helps to control excessive motion related to the way your feet are moving. An assessment with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist can help you determine if additional support is necessary.

 

Adjustability

While slip on shoes can be appealing for the ease of use, footwear with adjustability, like laces or velcro are always recommended. An adjustable closure will provide a more comfortable fit. Your feet can swell and change shape during the day, which can affect your shoe fit. An adjustable closure will help with shoe fit, even if your feet are slightly swollen. It also helps to keep your feet in place to reduce the risk of rubbing or slipping in the heels.

Remember to consider cushioning, a strong heel counter, arch support and adjustability as ideal features for your indoor workouts. These features are a great place to start when looking for shoes! In addition to these features, there are different styles that work better with flat feet versus high arches. A Canadian Certified Pedorthist will perform an assessment of your feet and legs to help determine what shoe would be most important for you. They will also give you recommendations on which of the above features are most important, and if any others would be beneficial. Visit your local Pedorthist to get a jump start on finding the best shoe for your indoor exercise routine.

By Kathrine Simpson, C. Ped (C)

 


Pedorthists can Help you Achieve Goals for a Healthier 2021

Did you kick off the new year with a resolution to be more active? Healthy feet and lower limbs have a huge impact on your overall wellness and mobility. Make an appointment to see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist as a part of your resolution to be healthier in 2021. If you’ve never seen a Pedorthist before – click here to find one near you.

What can you expect from your first appointment with a pedorthist?

What to bring & wear:

  • Shoes you primarily wear for different activities – for example your running shoes, everyday walking shoes and shoes you wear to work
  • A prescription from your doctor if you have one
  • Details about the pain you may have and when it occurs and what it feels like. Write down descriptions of the pain or discomfort you’re having in the weeks leading up to your appointment so you can provide as accurate details as possible
  • Wear shorts or loose-fitting pants that can be easily pushed above your knees for the assessment

Topics for discussion:

Your Pedorthist will ask you many questions including:

  • Where and when is your pain and discomfort?
  • What activities you do and what footwear you use in those activities? The activities you take part in may be related to your foot problems
  • Related medical issues? For example, if you have diabetes or broken bones with pins in, it will affect how well you move and what kind of pain you will have.

Your Pedorthic assessment will include:

  • The Pedorthist will examine your shoes for fit and the pattern of wear on the shoes
  • Assessment of your foot type
  • Your feet and legs will be examined to see how much motion is found at certain joints and to see where the pain might be found in the feet and legs.
  • The Pedorthist will watch you walk or run. How you walk can be causing some of your troubles and could be compensating for the pain that you have 

Finally, if the Pedorthist recommends custom orthotics for treatment, a copy of your foot will be made to make the orthotics to the exact specifications of your feet. This is called “casting” and it can be done with casting foam, plaster or with a 3-dimensional scanner. Once your custom orthotics have been made by your Canadian Certified Pedorthist (usually at their on-site lab) you will be asked to come back to get your orthotics. At this point you will get a chance to try the orthotics in your different shoes and have any minor adjustments made before taking them home to start wearing.

Your Pedorthist may also recommend purchasing new shoes and can help you find the perfect model and fit for your feet. The shoe fit is important for comfort and being pain free. There needs to be enough room at the toe for length and width to fit your feet and the orthotics. The shape of the shoe also needs to fit the foot properly to avoid rubbing and friction issues.

For more information about your first visit to a Pedorthist, watch this video.

By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C)


Work From Home Foot Health

As this New Year rolls in, many Canadians are either starting to or continuing to find themselves working from a new office; their homes. While the commute is great, there are some things to keep in mind that will help keep you and your feet healthy and happy.

If you normally work outside of the house, your feet will be used to wearing socks and footwear which provide you with both cushioning and support. Sitting and walking around your house in bare feet is quite a shock and can have a negative effect on your comfort levels. Imagine going from 8+ hours a day of support to a sudden drop off; the intrinsic muscles in your feet are suddenly being asked to do a lot more work than they are used to.

If you are experiencing aches in your feet or even in your lower legs after a couple weeks or months of being at home, the lack of footwear may be the cause. Step one will be to choose a pair of soled footwear: slippers, sandals or shoes will work. Soft soled or knit slippers do not offer the stability that your feet are seeking. Check that the footwear is strong and stable through the midsole and if you are spending blocks of time on your feet, 30 minutes or more, consider grabbing a pair of runners or adding an insole to your indoor footwear.

If your job has you sitting from morning until night then you should be checking your feet and ankles for signs of swelling. When you do not walk more than a couple steps in a row, the blood has a difficult time being pumped up against gravity. Normally the calf muscle acts as a pump to keep the blood flowing well. Compression socks are a useful tool that aid blood that has been pumped to your extremities back up to your heart. Compression socks come in different compression levels along with different styles and materials to match your needs. It is always suggested you talk to someone with experience before starting to wear compression socks. It is also a great idea to set a timer/schedule time for some 5-10 minute breaks that allow you to get up and walk around the house…or even better a quick stroll around the block.

You may find that after sitting for an hour or more, you have some stiffness when you do get a chance to stand. Try a couple gentle ankle twists and knee flexes, some soft movements while seated to help your feet and legs prepare for you to stand. If you have slipped off those indoor shoes then remember to slip them back on before you get up from your desk. These small and simple steps can go a long way in keeping you pain free.

If you are finding yourself glued to your seat for most of the day, there are different tools that you can use while at your desk. Foot massage balls, foam rollers, calf stretchers can all be used in a seated position and may be helpful for you.

Canadian Certified Pedorthists are working within the new COVID-19 protocols and are happy to provide you answers to questions or concerns you may have about your feet and legs and how to keep your feet happy and healthy while working from home. To find a pedorthist near you visit www.pedorthic.ca/

By Jasmine Basner, C. Ped (C)


New Year’s Resolutions – Don’t Forget Your Feet!

A new year tends to bring on new exercise routines! The gyms (when open) get busier in January and February, but by March, pain tends to provide a good excuse to move on from the resolution. To help prevent the resolution from falling off by March, it is important to take care of your body in the beginning stages of the routine! Your feet are very important when beginning an exercise routine because they can affect other parts of your body!

Exercise

Specifically looking at the exercise routine, it is important to start small and gradually build the intensity and duration of the exercise. It is similar to running a full out sprint without warming up the body; you are very likely to hurt yourself. To ensure you are appropriately building the intensity, it is a good idea to talk to someone who has more knowledge about building exercise routines.

In addition to the exercise, stretching regularly helps to prevent injury. Building muscle can shorten the muscles. If muscles are continually shortened at one area, and not on the opposing muscle, this can create an imbalance. Because imbalances can also come in different ways, it may be beneficial to speak with a physiotherapist or chiropractor to address your specific condition.

Get your feet checked

An imbalance can originate from the feet. When starting a new exercise routine, the proper support becomes more important even if you haven’t been in pain previously. Pain can develop from a specific event or can accumulate over time. Exercise puts more stress on the body, which can exaggerate any gait abnormalities or imbalances already present.

Also, look at signs of pressure, especially in the first few months of starting the new exercise routine, or when changing up your regular exercise routine. Signs of pressure can be seen as redness, calluses (thick skin), corns or bruising. These pressure points may worsen if not dealt with.

Footwear

Wearing the proper shoes is also important. First, the correct type of shoe can make a difference. A casual or dress shoe will not provide the appropriate support, fit and cushioning for an exercise routine. If your exercise does not involve high impact or running exercises, a walking shoe can be appropriate. A walking shoe will have a wide and solid base for increased stability. A running shoe is very popular for exercise because it is a lighter shoe and can be used for any type of exercise. These running shoes come in different levels of support: neutral and stability. To determine which one is best for you, talk to your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist. There are also sport specific shoes which have the appropriate features for the specific activity they are meant for.

The proper shoe fit is also important to prevent excessive motion or compression in the feet. Make sure the length, width and depth are all appropriate for your feet. Your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist can also help you with the appropriate shoe fit. When the shoe fit is not appropriate, blisters, redness or other signs of pressure and shear can develop.

Once you have the appropriate shoes for your feet, your work isn’t complete! Make sure to check for wear on the shoes. Even the best shoe will wear down and lose its support. The lifespan of a shoe varies from each person and the type of shoe worn, but shoes typically last between six months to a couple years. If you are quite active, make sure to monitor your shoes very frequently. Signs of shoe wear can be seen at the bottom (sole) and at the midsole (above the sole). Look for the sole starting to wear down, and creasing on the midsole. Another sign that the midsole is wearing down, is to look for the front of the shoe (toe) bending upwards.

For more information about your feet and footwear, talk to your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist!

By Julia Hayman, C. Ped (C)


Finding the Right Shoe During the Winter

Getting outside to enjoy some fresh air can sometimes prove difficult as the snow and ice builds up, but it is important for us to do what we can to spend time outdoors each day. One question you may be asking is, how can I prevent falling during the colder weather? There are a few important features on footwear that can help reduce your chances of falling during the winter months. While it is always important to choose the right footwear for your feet, when the temperatures dip below zero, the snow and ice means that you need to make smart choices to keep you and your feet on solid ground.

Start by looking for a non-slip sole. This will help avoid slipping and falling when stepping on slippery surfaces. Unfortunately, nothing can stick to ice but there are materials that create higher traction then others.

It is also important to choose footwear that offers support and stability to your feet and ankles. Wear a shoe/boot with a solid backing (heel counter) for support and to prevent the shoe from sliding off. A solid heel counter keeps the heel from moving around too much to help with stability when your heel hits the ground. The heel counter can be tested by pushing at the back of the heel. It should resist the pressure you apply.

A shoe with a wide base is also important for stability. The wider base helps with stability from side to side to prevent falling. Avoid soft, flexible shoes and boots as they do not offer enough support for your feet. If you look at the bottom of your shoe and it narrows in significantly at the middle, it is safe to assume that that is not the shoe you want to choose. Shoes should match the shape of your feet and therefore should not be significantly narrower then the width of your foot.

Also, make sure the shoe fits properly. A proper fitting shoe helps improve the support and stability while walking. You want the length, width as well as depth of the footwear to be adequate. The length should allow for your toes to have about a half inch of space between them and the end of the shoes/boots. When checking the width, you do not want your toes to be squeezed/squished across the top or sides. In addition to the width at the sides of the foot, it is also important to find shoes that are wide at the toe box. If the shoe tapers in at the toes, this can also squeeze the toes. Not only will the squeezed toes likely cause discomfit when walking, but it will shorten the time that your feet stay warm in colder weather. The width can be tested by taking the original insert out of the shoe, and standing on it. The sides of your feet and toes should not be spilling over the edge of the insole.

Another consideration is to find shoes that keep your feet adequately warm for the activities you plan to do. Although this does not keep you from falling directly, preventing your feet from getting cold and numb will help with feeling more stable. Look for shoes that are waterproof or water-resistant and have less mesh around the upper (material on the top of the shoe).

In addition to the features above, there are additional options to improve support. There are multiple footwear modifications that can be done to increase the base of support and improve the stability of the shoe when necessary.

To find the right shoe for you, talk to your Canadian Certified Pedorthist!

By: Jasmine Basner, C. Ped (C) and Julia Hayman, C. Ped (C)


Foot Health Tips for Winter Sports

Winter is a time for enjoying all that nature has to offer. Spend some time enjoying the quietness of the forest as you ski or snowshoe or maybe spend the day at the ski hills carving curves and feeling the wind race by your face. People of all ages love the thrill of racing down a snowy hill then working to climb back up for another round down.

No matter the activity, if your feet need some extra support or cushioning a custom orthotic can be made to work with your feet and fit in the appropriate footwear.

Skates and ski boots require a lower profile orthotic that has a shape that reflects the contours of the inside of the footwear. Because skates and ski boots generally have a firm/stiff boot they act differently then your regular day to day footwear. Having orthotics made specifically for this type of footwear means you can put them in and leave them there. In addition to the unique fit requirements, the actions that your feet perform inside skates or ski boots can be very different from those in your street shoes and the orthotics may require different specifications.

Your Canadian Certified Pedorthist will ask you to bring in your skates or ski boots to your initial assessment and when fitting the orthotics. Some pedorthists are also skilled in modifying your winter sports footwear for things like bony prominences. In most cases you’ll need to have your custom orthotics made specifically for your skates and ski boots as it is unlikely that they will be interchangeable to other footwear like running shoes or sandals.

Outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing will likely have you on your feet for hours, so it is important to remember that your feet require proper support, even when you are not in your regular day-to-day shoes. You may be able to use the same orthotics that fit in your running shoes in your winter boots that you may wear when snowshoeing. Your feet and legs will thank you for helping them work as efficiently as they can by choosing boots that provide ankle support and have a strong shank to give your midfoot adequate support. It is also always important that your feet stay dry, this helps keep them warm too. For your cross-country ski boots you can check for a removeable insole so that you can fit your off the shelf or custom orthotics inside. If there is not a removable footbed then try out a ¾ length insole that doesn’t require as much room to fit in and will still offer you great support.

Another important piece of the puzzle is your socks. Be sure to choose natural fibers such as cotton, or even better wool, to help keep your feet dry. Synthetic materials allow moisture to sit against the skin and cause them to feel cold sooner. Compression socks help to keep the blood flowing properly from your heart to your limbs and because of this they help keep feet warm.

Canadian Certified Pedorthists will talk to you about your lifestyle and educate you on the best ways to keep your feet and legs supported while being active this winter season. Looking for a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your area? Want comfortable feet this outdoor season? Begin your search here.

By: Jasmine Basner, C. Ped (C)

 


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