What Your Shoe Fit Says About Your Health

Most of us have a pair of shoes we wear on a regular basis. A beloved pair of flats or perhaps our most comfortable tennis shoes. We all know the sadness of when that perfect pair begins to show its age. You might notice they are looser or lean to one side. The patterns of wear on the bottom of your shoes actually provide important information regarding your gait, which can affect your comfort and general health. How should your shoes fit?

According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, shoe fit is an important indicator of the user’s biomechanics. Ideally, wear is relatively symmetrical, with a very slight increase on the inside edge of the sole. A dramatic shift of wear towards the inside of the sole is indicative of pronation, meaning more weight is placed on the inside edge of the foot when it strikes the ground. The opposite pattern is known as supination.

Effects of Improper Shoe Fit

Both supination and pronation are typically linked to genetic factors, such as a difference in leg length. Wearing footwear without proper support can also be a contributing factor. These conditions are relatively common, but both gait patterns can cause problems if they become excessive. Medical News Today states that both supination and pronation cause an increase in stress at the ankle, increasing the likeliness of pain and injury. As a result, it is important to identify and address irregularities in your gait.

Shoe Fit Beyond the Feet

In addition to increased ankle stress, the irregularity of either walking pattern can have a domino effect that can alter overall posture and lead to discomfort in the knees, hips, and back. One scientific study published by Oxford journal’s Rheumatology found that although supination showed no strong correlation with lower back pain, pronation did, especially in female subjects. By contrast, subjects with supination were more likely to exhibit localized issues. This includes but is not limited to hammertoes, shin splints, and stress fractures.

Foot Treatment

Fortunately, both irregular gait conditions can usually be treated with proper care. Reid Health notes that choosing appropriate footwear and purchasing a rigid orthotic insole are great ways to address gait irregularity because the structure of the shoe and insole help maintain the spatial relationship between the foot and the ankle by realigning the subtalar joint. However, there are some cases where foot surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.

For these cases, Jamfeet in Beverly Hills offers a wide variety of options for addressing both pronation and supination as well as the conditions that often accompany them. Doctors Jamshidinia, Alfandari, and Khademi are highly experienced podiatrists licensed by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Their countless five-star testimonials speak to their experience and professionalism in regard to the feet that keep us moving.

How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots

Young Man Traveler with backpack relaxing outdoor with rocky mountains on background Summer vacations and Lifestyle hiking concept

How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots

Shoes are designed for specific activities in order to provide the necessary support, fit, and surface to best manage the activity. If you are going hiking, it is extremely important to have the right hiking boots in order to prevent injury and provide your feet the proper support they need to navigate the terrain.

What Kind of Hiking Will You Be Doing?

There are different types of hiking boots for different types of hiking. Hiking boots are usually broken down into the following three categories:

Light Hiking Shoes. These hiking boots look similar to running shoes, but typically have a sturdier exterior. They are perfect for light hiking and are considerably lighter than other hiking boots, which make them ideal for long-distance backpackers.

Backpacking Boots. Backpacking boots are made for the more intense hiker that intends on hiking for multiple days, both on or off the trails. They contain a stiff sole and are made with materials to handle just about any condition.

Mountain Boots. These hiking boots are for those hiking through rocky terrain, snow, or glacial trails. They are built with water-resistant materials and can handle some of the toughest terrain out there.

In addition to determining what kind of boots you need for the type of hiking you will be doing, paying attention to the material the boots are made out of is important as well. Some boots are made of synthetic materials, which are lighter and less water-resistant. Other hiking boots are made from what is known as split-grain leather, which is half leather and half synthetic materials. While very breathable, it is not as water-resistant as full-grain leather. Full-grain leather is best for mountain boots and provides the perfect durable material for the rigorous hiker. However, full-grain leather is not as breathable and can leave your feet feeling very hot and uncomfortable.

Finding the Right Fit

First and foremost, it is important that you find the right fit for your hiking boots. Wearing shoes of any kind in the wrong size can wreak havoc on your feet. Shoes that are too small or too tight can cause a number of problems, including but not limited to, blisters, bunions, hammer toes, corns, and ingrown toenails. For hiking, it is helpful to have thicker socks to help protect your feet. Additionally, your feet may be susceptible to swelling due to the intensity of hiking or weather conditions. As a result, it is best to buy hiking boots that are a half-size larger than the measurement of your feet. When purchasing hiking boots, speak with a sales associate that can measure your foot and make sure to accurately determine your size. You should have ample wiggle room near your toes for the best fit during hiking.

Some tips for when getting fitted for hiking boots:

• Get fitted later in the day, when your feet may have some natural swelling from the day.
• Wear similar (or the same) type of socks you intend to wear while hiking.
• Measure both feet, since sometimes your feet may vary in size.
• Check for appropriate fit while standing up as well.

Finding the Right Cut

In addition to finding the right fit, the cut of the hiking boots is critical. Depending on the kind of hiking that you are doing, your feet and ankle will need more or less support. The lower-cut boots are perfect for flatter and less rigorous trails. The mid-cut and high-cut hiking boots are better for offering better ankle support for the adventurous hiker that wishes to take things off the trail and through rocky terrain.

Hiking is an activity that is not an activity that should not be done without proper preparation, particularly when it comes to footwear. Utilizing the above strategies to select the right hiking boots will help avoid injuries that can come from improper footwear.

Foot Surgery in Los Angeles

Dr. Kamran Jamshidinia and the rest of his medical team at Jamfeet have been helping patients in and around the greater Los Angeles area to manage and heal foot pain and foot conditions. If you suffer from foot pain, contact us today at (310) 247-9255 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.