Healthy feet are vital for mobility, stability, and balance! We bear all our weight on it while walking, standing, weight lifting, and other movements.
So I chose to write about a this neglected and overlooked topic: The Importance of Footwear and How It Affects Your Body!
The Anatomy Of The Foot
The foot consists of 26 smaller bones (7 tarsus-tarsal bones, five metatarsal, and 14 bones that make up the toes called Phalanges). Around 7000 nerves end in each foot, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If these bones are out of alignment, so is the rest of the body!
The Achilles tendon helps to lift your heels off the ground when you walk. It connects to two calf muscles called the gastrocnemius and soleus.
When these muscles are tight, they can limit the upward movement (dorsiflexion) of your feet, which can cause your upper body to lean forward and make it harder to squat or move around.
How You Footwear Affects you Body?
Wearing the wrong shoes can significantly impact your posture and movement. Many shoes are designed to be tight in the front, which can restrict the movement of your toes and lead to a range of problems like:
Wearing such shoes can also affect your gait and movement, making it difficult to perform exercises like squats or causing pain or injury during the lift.
To better understand the potential harm caused by these shoes, let’s take a closer look at their design and how it affects our bodies.
1. High heeled shoes
Although high-heeled shoes are a common choice for women, it’s important to understand the negative effects they can have on your body. This also applies to men who wear shoes with elevated heels.
When you wear high heels, most of your body weight is shifted to the front of your feet, which can limit your natural range of motion. As a result, your knees and hips may shift out of their normal alignment, leading to discomfort in your feet and lower back.
Furthermore, wearing high heels can cause your calf muscles and Achilles tendon to tighten, and your heel cords to become shorter. This can reduce the range of movement in your ankles and feet, causing pain in your Achilles tendon, feet, knees, hips, and lower back.
If your high heels are also tight, this can worsen the situation. The shoes can squeeze your toes together, preventing them from moving freely and causing deformities such as hammertoes or bunions. Friction from the shoes can also cause calluses to form.
In addition, wearing high heels can alter your walking pattern and overextend your spine, further misaligning your body.
When you wear shoes that don’t hold your feet well, they become less stable, making it more difficult to walk. As a result, you may try to clench your toes to keep the shoes on. This can also lead to a shorter stride length compared to footwear that provides better support.
However, the problems caused by poorly fitting shoes are not limited to just the feet. Instability and incorrect foot posture can cause strain and imbalances in the lumbar region of the spine, as well as the knees and hips. This can lead to muscle strain, plantar fascia strain, and further complications.
3. Some running shoes – cushioned shoes
The cushioning was made to absorb impact when landing to take the load and pressure off the joints and ligaments. Even if the heel elevation is not as extreme as in high heels, it can still limit the mobility of your ankles and change your gait and walking mechanics. Read more about the shoe cushioning myth here.
What to wear and what is good to lift in?
This image illustrates how shoes should aid your body’s natural walking motion. They should restrict heel drop, ensuring that your feet remain level on the ‘ground’ instead of elevated at the heel. High heels can cause calf tightness and limited ankle mobility. Shoes that conform to these principles provide ground feedback for balance and stability.
They should also provide enough room for your toes and feet, preventing the development of bunions and other foot issues. By enabling your toes to remain flat, these shoes also provide support and stability to your feet and entire body, especially during lifting activities.
These shoes will give you everything and more that you need to reconnect your feet with the ground. Plus they are stylish, comfy and their purpose matches with mine: To help the world to move better!
of course footwear are one very important thing, but what else can you or should you do to avoid injuries, pain and to optimize movement?
- Complete body maintenance every day
- Train and Move
- Wear the right footwear