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Put your best foot forward

By Lisa Buchan, 8 Jan 2019

 

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It’s a new year so let’s start off well and put our best feet forward as we head into new adventures. With summer finally here, the days are warming up and it’s time to ditch the shoes and get into our favourite kiwi loving jandals and bare feet. It feels so good to air those poor feet that have been enclosed all winter. Such a simple thing, you probably wouldn’t even think about how this can affect your body, I mean what could possibly be with wrong with this?

Well nothing really, sure it’s nice to get your feet out and of course you should do but there are a couple of things to consider when doing so. Unfortunately this time of year we do see an increased amount of foot and related problems or injuries.

But why?

As we don our favourite summertime footwear we are losing the support and cushioning that comes with most shoes that we have been relying on over winter, bit of a shock to our little tootsies.

To add to that we also walk differently, a slight grip with the toes to ensure those jandals don’t slip off, a bit more sideways movement between foot and footwear, the lack of arch support, heel lifts and nice soft cushioning to stop jarring, and don’t forget the black sand run to the water at Piha!

The load on your feet is immense, according to the Saucony shoe company report a force of up to three times our body weight can be exerted on the foot while running. A person weighing 150 pounds (68kg) can experience forces of up to seven times their body weight or 1000 pounds (453kg). Factor in barefoot running and then on concrete, ouch that is a lot of stress not only on your feet but the jarring can carry up through your whole body.

Aging can also have an effect as the fat pads in our feet start to thin which can lead to more jarring and bruising.

I was reminded on January1st (as I ventured out to the beach for a bit of barefoot walking on the sand and up the stream), of a question I have been asked a fair amount in more recent years about barefoot running. Hmmm well of course it’s a nice idea, if we didn’t live in a concrete jungle that is, I certainly felt the effects of wearing no shoes with a fair amount of walking, my feet were a bit out of their comfort zone and felt the odd twinge in the plantar region. So again if you are considering this then like all things, your feet will need time to adjust and strengthen as they adapt to new conditions, you could start of with walking around home, then grass or sand. To be fair we could all do a bit more of this as it’s great for strengthening the proprioreceptors in your feet.

But of course I’m not suggesting you stop the summertime swagger, just ease into it nice and gradually and make sure you don’t do any excessive walking if not used to it. There are plenty of supportive summer footwear options if you need an arch support and a bit more cushioning, Shoe Clinic is our preferred recommended retailer but there are plenty of other stores which sell a variety of options to suit you all.

The main thing is to get out there and enjoy doing what makes you happy.

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