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Are your shoes on their last leg?

by in Medical Pop Culture, Wellness April 28, 2015

The shoes on your feet are more than just fabric stitched and glued together, they have a life cycle. Whether you are a runner, walker, on your feet working, or simply going from point A to point B, what you wear on your feet is very important. Choosing the right shoe for your biomechanics and knowing the life expectancy of your shoes is crucial for staying injury free and maintaining proper gait.

You, as the consumer, have hundreds of shoe brands to choose from- as if choosing a decent shoe wasn’t hard enough! Focus on comfort, stability, and the overall shape of your foot, not the color or cost- function over fashion! This is a valuable investment and you will save money by preventing injuries which is more beneficial in the long run. Going to a store with a free foot analysis or being fitted by trained employees that put you in the right shoe is a good place to start.

It is important to remember that your feet are your foundation -keeping your feet healthy can help keep you healthy. Our body goes through the complex set of steps that make up our gait (or walking cycle) and the energy from the ground is absorbed and transferred up through the ankles, knees, hips, spine, to the head. If your gait is off you are sending that imbalance all the way up your skeletal structure and causing your body extra strain. Some injuries may come from ignored care to your feet such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Iliotibial band syndrome, low back pain, runner’s knee, or joint pain from extra stress.

With every step while walking your shoe is getting an impact of 2-3 times your body weight, and while running, your shoe is getting an impact of 4-5 times your body weight. When your shoes are worn down they are less able to absorb that impact efficiently. This is why most shoes are only projected to last 350-500 miles. Don’t wait until your shoes look like they are on their last leg because by then it is too late.

Signs your shoes are dead:
-Sole tread pattern worn down
– Heel worn more on one side
– Compressed midsoles
– Uppers broken down around the ankle
– Also: try the twist test – if you hold a shoe at both ends and twist, a shoe with no support or even an old shoe will twist easily while a shoe with support and rather new will feel firm. The shoes that twists should be replaced.

So where can you send those old, retired shoes? Nike started the Reuse-a-Shoe program in 1990 and have recycled over 28 million shoes. Just drop off your pair of shoes at a Nike store (7 stores in Tennessee-2 being in Pigeon Forge), and each layer of your shoes donated will be shredded and used for playgrounds, basketball courts, running tracks, and football goal posts! Also, another option if your shoes don’t have too much wear and tear on them is donate them to the Nashville based charity, Soles4Souls, or any other groups with a mission of giving in mind!

If you have any questions about your shoes, don’t be afraid to ask someone in our office! Our providers assess shoes on a daily basis and can give you some great tips for picking out your next pair. We can also build custom orthotics for those who may need a little more support than your regular shoes can provide. Contact our office at 865-524-1234 for more information today!

-Written by Audrey Springer, CTA, CXT