When was the last time you did something positive for your feet? Your feet are your foundation and they affect many other parts of your body; your ankles, shins, calves, knees, IT band, hips and lower back. You have 26 bones in each foot plus two sesamoid bones for a total of 56 bones; over one quarter of the total bones in your body! You have 33 joints in each foot as well as 112 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. Your feet have 3 arches and if these arches aren’t stable, this can lead to symptoms in those parts of your body mentioned above. We take 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day and the heel hits the ground at approximately 3 times your body weight when walking and up to 10 times your body weight when running. Women have 4 times as many foot problems as men do; mainly due to footwear selection and sizing (too short, too tight, high heels)!!! All of these fun facts help to emphasize the importance of taking the necessary steps to protect and balance your feet in order to have a solid foundation.
For athletes and avid exercisers, the proper footwear is of utmost importance. Running shoes are designed for protection, comfort and performance. Normally running shoes are designed for one of three basic foot types: Low arch, normal arch, and high arch.
Shoe models designed for low arch or “flat feet” are called motion control shoes. These shoes assist the foot by stabilizing the base and not deforming when the foot impacts the ground. The heel counter wraps around the calcaneus (heel) bone and helps align the foot on impact with the ground.
The normal arched foot is the most efficient. There is normal pronation (inward rotation) which helps the foot absorb shock and to have correct balance and propulsion. This foot type is benefitted by the stability shoe category which works to guide the foot through the gait cycle with ease and efficiency.
The high arched foot is generally called supinated or under-pronated. This foot type does not pronate enough, if at all, meaning that it does not efficiently absorb shock. The neutral category of footwear is recommended for this foot type. These shoes are more flexible and cushioned to protect the joints from impact.
If you are unsure of which shoe category is best for your feet, feel free to visit any RunningFit location for an assessment. Remember that the look of your new shoe isn’t the only thing you should focus on when making a shoe purchase. Keep this in mind the next time you go shoe shopping and I guarantee your new shoes will feel as good as they look.