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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year and New Shoes

As the month of January continues to march along, how many of us are losing confidence in our new year’s resolution. The biggest problems with new year’s resolutions is that it is only an idea and we never prepare, adjust our schedule, or truly invest in our future. So hear is your mid-January resolution pep talk. If getting in shape and exercising was your new year’s resolution, you need a starter package! First dedicate time into your schedule. It is like lunch. It is in your schedule every day. It may get pushed back or shorter depending on the day but you always eat eventually. You will always exercise ever day! Find something you enjoy doing. If you get board running around the track, don’t do it. Try out community classes, new sports, and get a work out buddy! Most importantly, you have to be physically prepared for the activity. See your physician if you have any current medical conditions to learn about activities best for you.

Ladies, I have great news! You need to buy new shoes – Doctor’s Orders!

Not all sports are created equal and they cause different stresses on your body and especially your foot and ankle. Pushing, slamming, crushing, jamming, twisting, and turning; your shoes and feet are taking a beating. If you are pulling your old athletic shoes out of the closet, you probably need to move them to the garbage. Athletic shoes break down over time and lose their supportive properties. Depending on the sport and how often you use them, shoes should be replaced every 3-6 months. It is also important to buy sport specific shoes. Different sports or exercise programs involve varying movements and are at special paces. Your supporting structure should accommodate these different stressors.

Your new shoes need to be well fitted. Make sure to go shoe shopping in the afternoon since your feet do increase in size throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to try on different sizes. You may think you are a size 8 but sizes do vary from brand to brand. Most people wear their shoes too small. This can slowly cause deformities and complications of your feet. So how do you know it is the right size? It is most important that your shoe bends where your foot bends and that the widest part of the shoe is at the widest part of your foot. After this is established, then look to see where your toes are. There should be at least a finger’s breadth of space from your longest toe to the end of shoe. You may need to try several different brands, styles, and sizes to find the perfect match. Also, make sure you stand up and walk around in the shoes on BOTH feet. Your feet are not the same size so what feels right on one foot may still be too small for the other.

After you find the perfect fit, and you start your work out, don’t be discouraged if you began to feel foot pain. Over 75% of the population has at least one foot problem. Increasing activity may aggravate your condition, but there are simple answers and solutions. Most foot problems are due to the biomechanical structure and function of your foot. When these problems are present, it is common to experience pain in your feet, ankle,s knees, and back, but using orthotics quickly corrects the problem. Orthotics help control and correct the biomechanical function of your feet. Since not all feet are created equal and we do different activities, custom orthotics is the best solution. A podiatric physician can cast your foot and a mold will be created. A lab will then use that mold to form an insert. Depending on your history and physical, the doctor and lab chooses specific materials, and accommodations to accommodate and correct your specific foot structure and biomechanical function.

So go buy some new shoes and get to the gym. You are not allowed to use the excuse “my feet hurt too much.” Podiatric physicians can help you find the right shoes and help relieve pain while you continue to gain at the gym! It is a new year and time for new shoes and a new you!

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