Wear suit­able shoes for your feet

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - PARENTING -

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.

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