Wear suitable shoes for your feet
EVERYONE walks a little differently but most commonly, your heel will touch the ground first with each step. Then you roll over the ball of your foot and onto your toes. In normal movement, the heel swings correctly and the body weight is centred over the feet.
But if your heel swings too much, the foot may flatten more than it should. Over time, these abnormal movements may cause foot problems.
Under these circumstances, you should have your foot examined by an orthotist to determine the best treatment, including placement of pads, bars or heel cups in or on the shoe.
These orthotic products will limit or assist motion by altering the way the bones and muscles work when one is on the move.
Foot problems are responsible for causing a wide range of health problems – bunions and hammer toes, outside knee and hip pain to name a few.
The solution? Appropriate (and correct) footwear and orthotics. But before a suitable orthotic or insole can be prescribed, an understanding about the feet is needed. It is believed by health care specialists that over 70% of the population suffer from mild to severe excess pronation.
The arch shape of the foot is important in distributing pressure in such a manner that there is no pain experienced by the person when walking or running.
Generally, there are three types of feet – arched, high-arched and flat-footed.
A large percentage of the Malaysian population are flat-footed (no arch under their foot). People with flat feet are exposed to greater level of risks since they have a higher chance of strained muscles, weakened muscles, pain spots and other pains as a result of its fallen arch.
Children with flat feet can easily be noted during the early years of their life – they walk on their toes or the outsides of their feet.
As they grow older, functional orthotic insoles and healthy footwear with arch support can support and provide relief for flatfooted adults, who would otherwise experience pain in their feet, legs, knees and even their lower back.
People with high-arched feet or excessive pronation are more likely attributed to a bone or nerve condition.
Excess pronators have an arch present, but that will lower significantly during walking and running, causing the ankles to twist inwards.
Unlike flat feet, more stress is placed on the metatarsals (section between the ankle and the toes) which can cause the feet to be painful.
As a high arch could cause disability, it is advised that those with a high arch fit themselves with proper foot support.
Orthotic insoles and shoes are designed to correct faulty foot function, reducing the amount of ankle role and arch flattening when walking or running.
By correcting over-pronation, orthotics realigns feet and ankle bones to their neutral position, restoring natural foot function.
There are a number of different types of orthotics available, even one that can be worn with high-heeled shoes.
Generally, there are two types – custommade rigid ones and off-the-shelf pieces that are readily available.
Custom-made rigid orthotics can only be prescribed and dispensed by an orthotist for patients with serious biomechanical disorders or foot deformities.
Off-the-shelf insoles, however, do not address the biomechanical problem of overpronation, as an orthotic does. While orthotics plays a role in correcting foot arches, good footwear is important.
When buying shoes, have your feet measured and use the shoe side from your bigger foot as a guide. If you have trouble finding shoes that fit, seek an orthotist for advice.
For more information, log on to www.myortho.com.my
The before and after photo of a flat-footed person after correction using an orthotics insole.