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Are Those Fancy Shoes Killing Your Body?

By Chris Brown

Foot health is probably low on your list of priorities when purchasing new shoes. For most it sits somewhere behind a shoe's brand, comfort, and style. But our feet have a great effect upon how well your bodies move and our joint health. Selecting the right shoe just might allow your whole body to move optimally. The 29 muscles of the foot are vital for every step and keeping those muscles healthy is essential for long-term mobility.

How the Wrong Shoe Messes With Your Health

Bad shoes can change the shape and function of your feet, causing a range of problems throughout the body.

One of the most common conditions created by poor footwear is flat footedness. Flat feet lead to compounding issues that extend throughout the kinetic chain of the body. Joint and postural issues can result up from the ankles and knees to the back and hips. Also, plantar fasciitis (overstretched foot tendons) commonly accompanies flat feet.

Other issues vary based upon the shoe, but the power of the wrong shoe to change foot shape for the worse cannot be understated. A shoe that is too tight can warp the foot inwards and heel angle can unevenly overwhelm small foot muscles and misshape the arch and toes. All of these issues tend to cause problems all the way up the bodily joints.

What Shoes to Avoid

Although it may sound like an oxymoron, you want to avoid shoes that both are too comfortable or too uncomfortable. Overly supportive shoes weaken the small muscles of the foot over time, causing flat footedness and making it difficult to switch to other shoes or walk barefoot.

On the other hand, immediate discomfort usually signals that a shoe is negatively affecting the foot. This includes shoes with narrow toe boxes, unstable soles, or ones designed with dreaded high-heels. Although high-class and refined, high-heeled shoes are some of the worst for your feet and posture. Regular high-heel wearers commonly experience a painful curving of the lower back, called lordosis, that impacts their quality of life.

The Ideal Shoe

Unfortunately, this is not such a simple question. In general, the best shoes are minimalistic with limited arch support and plenty of toe box. These shoes help keep the foot strong and the arches stiff (a good thing). But don't immediately jump from your favorite high-comfort kicks into a full-time minimalist overnight. The sudden new strain on your weakened foot muscles may cause injury. Instead, add minimalist shoes to your weekly rotation and gradually transition between a variety of shoes. After all, wearing any one shoe type for too long, even the perfect shoe, can cause foot problems. Ultimately, wearing a variety of shoe styles, which challenge the different muscles of your feet, are ideal for complete foot health.

If you are experiencing joint pain from bad foot health, stopping by The Joint Chiropractic can help you recover from your old, poor fitting shoes. The Joint offers walk-in sessions at affordable prices which can, quite literally, put some pep in your sore feet's step.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

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