Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Proper Footwear Makes All the Difference

According to Brad Walker, coach, nationally ranked athlete and author of The Anatomy of Stretching: Your Illustrated Guide to Flexibility and Injury Rehabilitation, two issues that can sideline runners and walkers are over-pronation and over-supination of the feet. The anatomical terms of motion refer to the foot’s natural rolling movement while running or walking, something that the majority of individuals barely notice until symptoms such as pain in the heel, arch, knee, hip or back occur. Shin splints, as well as Achilles tendonitis, are other possible symptoms related to these unique set of actions and reactions that the foot performs to support, cushion and balance the body while it is in motion.

Pronation is the inward roll of the foot during normal use. It occurs at the outer edge of the heel as it strikes the ground and the foot rolls inward and flattens out. Supination is the opposite of pronation, and refers to the outward roll of the foot during normal motion. While a moderate amount of both rolling motions is necessary for the foot to function properly, an excessive amount of either can lead to biomechanical problems that are best corrected with the proper footwear.

Worn out running or walking shoes can worsen an uncorrected gait. Running shoes should be replaced approximately every six months or after 300 to 500 miles, depending on the shoe. Replace walking shoes approximately every six to nine months if a daily walk includes four to five miles. For treatment and prevention, see a qualified sports doctor, physical therapist or podiatrist for a complete foot-strike and running/walking gait analysis and advice on beneficial stretching and strengthening exercises for the legs.

A competent sports footwear salesperson at a store specializing in running shoes can recommend shoes to suit an individual’s foot requirements. If necessary, investing in a pair of orthotic inserts can further prevent excessive pronation or supination. Orthotics help support the foot and distribute stress across the foot more evenly. If necessary, invest in a pair of custom orthotic inserts made for your unique foot.

Annie Ray, DC, is the owner of Bonita Beach Chiropractic, located at 11100 Bonita Beach Rd. SE, Ste. 107B, in Bonita Springs. She treats occupational and sports injuries in addition to other health issues. For more information, call 238-992-6643.

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