Walking and Your Feet

Links

American Board of Podiatric Surgery

The American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS), in accordance with standards published by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), conducts primary source verification of the podiatric medical school graduation, residency training completion, and state licensure for each ABPS member.  It is the recognized board certification organization by the American Podiatric Medical Association and the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons

The American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) is a professional society of more than 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons.  Founded in 1942, ACFAS seeks to promote the art and science of foot, ankle, and related lower extremity surgery, address the concerns of foot and ankle surgeons, and advance and improve standards of education and surgical skill.

Foot Health Facts-Healthy feet for an Active Life

The patient education website of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

American Podiatric Medical Association

Founded in 1912, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is the leading resource for foot and ankle health information.  Currently, the organization represents a vast majority of the 15,000 podiatrists in the country.  In addition to the national headquarters, APMA boasts 53 state component locations throughout the United States and its territories, as well as affiliated societies

Virginia Podiatric Medical Association

The state component of the APMA.

American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine

The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine serves to advance the understanding, prevention and management of lower extremity sports and fitness injuries.  Useful articles and various athletic shoe lists are found on this site.

American Professional Wound Care Association

The American Professional Wound Care Association is a non-profit medical association welcoming all medical specialties involved in treating the various forms of non-healing wounds, including diabetic, vascular, ischemic, pressure ulcers, burns and cancer.

Northcoast Footcare

Northcoast Footcare is an online resource for reliable and up-to-date foot health information. Northcoast Footcare, Inc has a complete resource of patient information for common foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and bunions as well as step by step tratments for each condition.  We believe that images, diagrams and illustrations are the best way to help individuals understand their foot problems.  Northcoast Footcare has the greatest number of graphicson the web for help on diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions.  Content and articles written by Christine Dobrowolski, DPM, MS.

American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.  This site is an excellent resource for anyone desiring more information about diabetes.

About 67 million adults in this country have discovered that walking is one of the most fun, natural, and inexpensive ways of keeping your health—and your feet—in top shape. Walking can be enjoyed almost anywhere, any time, and year around. It's also a good way to get exercise, particularly for people who are out-of-shape.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, exercise offers a host of benefits. Walking helps control weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. A brisk walk can burn up to 100 calories per mile or 300 calories per hour. Walking also improves cardiovascular fitness. As an aerobic exercise, walking gets the heart beating faster to transport oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the muscles. The heart and lungs grow more efficient with a regular walking regimen, reducing blood pressure and the resting heart rate. Walking is also a central element of medical rehabilitation for a wide array of health problems. For example, recovery from a heart attack can be facilitated by a regular walking regimen. Additionally, walking creates an overall feeling of well-being, and can relieve depression, anxiety, and stress by producing endorphins, the body's natural tranquilizer. A brisk walk will relax you and also stimulate your thinking.

To gain the most health benefit from walking, it is important to pay attention to your feet. Shoes that don't fit properly or provide adequate support, lack of stretching, and improper gait can lead to foot injuries or pain. The most common foot problems are blisters, corns, calluses, and plantar fasciitis.

Walking Shoes

The only equipment you need to enjoy walking for fitness is a good pair of shoes. But before you can shop for the best shoe for your foot, you need to identify the natural inclination of your foot and gait. There are three basic foot types:

  • Pronators are people with relatively flat feet, caused by low arches, which generally leads to overpronation, or a gait in which the ankle rolls inward excessively. People with this foot type need motion control shoes that offer support for mid-foot. Motion-control shoes are more rigid and built on a straight last. These are generally board-lasted shoes, which have a piece of cardboard running the length of the shoe for greater stability. Look for sturdy uppers for added stability and avoid shoes with a lot of cushioning or highly curved toes. Also look for a reinforced heel counter to maintain foot support and stability.
  • Supinators are people with high arches, which can lead to underpronation that places too much weight on the outsides of the feet. People with this foot type need stability shoes designed for extra shock absorption and often having a curved or semi-curved last. A slip-lasted shoe is also recommended, because the sewn seam runs the length of the shoe  giving it greater flexibility. Also look for shoes that are reinforced around the ankle and heel to stabilize the foot and extra cushioning under the ball of the foot.
  • People with normal feet can wear any type of walking shoe, although a curved last is generally preferred.

When you walk, the natural motion of your foot rolls gradually from the heel to the toe, with your foot bending at the ball on each step. That's why it is important for walking shoes to have enough flexibility in just the right places.  A good walking shoe should give a little when you twist it and bend at the ball of the foot. When you put the shoe on a flat surface and push on the toe the heel should come up off the surface. If it does, the shoe has the curvature you need to conform to your movement during walking.  Make sure the heel is low and not too wide. A slight undercut in the heel will help your foot begin its roll from the heel through the step.

Here are some other important tips for buying a good pair of walking shoes:

  • Shop at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen to get a good fit.
  • Try on shoes with the socks you will wear when walking. If you use an orthotic, bring that to the store when you try on shoes as well.
  • Have your feet measured standing up and fit your shoes to the larger of your two feet.
  • Be sure there is enough room in the toe box for your toes to wiggle and about a half inch between your toes and the end of the shoe.
  • Take time when shopping to try on different brands and walk around the store in each pair. Be sure to walk on a hard surface, not just on carpeting. Let your foot be the guide to the fit, not the shoe size or style.
  • Look for lightweight, breathable materials for greater comfort.
  • Run your hand all over and inside the shoes to feel for any seams or catches that might irritate your foot.
  • Choose shoes that lace for better foot stability and control.
  • Make sure your heel fits snugly and does not tend toward slipping out of the shoe.
  • Wear your walking shoes only for walking to extend their life. Consider buying two pairs and rotating your wear to give each pair time to breath between walks.
  • Replace walking shoes after every 300 to 600 miles, depending on how hard you are on your shoes.