IMPROVING YOUR FOOTWEAR
How your shoe responds to the ground and how your foot responds to the shoe will be transmitted up by your leg to various body blocks; therefore’ the kind of shoe you wear can significantly affect how you feel while standing and walking, regardless of the style of the shoes you wear.
HEEL COUNTER: this is like the keel of a boat; it needs to be stable enough to hold your heel upright while you stand and walk.·
- Desirable: the heel counter should comfortably cup the back and sides of the heel and should be able to hold this area upright as you walk. The material used must be reinforced and sturdy enough to remain stable even after the shoes are no longer new. ·
- Problematic: a flimsy heel counter is one that can be collapsed if you press your finger on it. This allows the heel to move around too much, especially to tilt inward or outward. If your heel tilts outward, the ankle tends to be in a more rigid position so that more shock may be transmitted up the leg to the spine. If your heel falls inward, the foot arches tend to get flattened out. This may increase strain up the leg to the low back.
HEEL: this is the platform under your heel bone.·
- Desirable: the heel should be well padded for shock absorption and should be supported approximately ½-3/4 higher than the ball of the foot. Also, the width of the heel should be equal to the width of the heel counter; this will help to “spread out” the strain forces and therefore improve shock absorption.
- Problematic: hard, dense heels increase the amount of shock transmitted up the leg to the spine. Flat heels may increase shock due to the dense material used. Narrow, spiky heels cause a wobbling effect up the leg that may increase muscle tension in problem areas.
Mushy, spongy heels may increase strain because they “give” too much and because they are usually combined with a flimsy heel counter.
Heels that have become worn and uneven may aggravate your alignment and muscle tension. don’t let them go too far before you get them repaired or replaced.