As you step out the door to enjoy some summer activity, take a look down - have your feet got the right support for the role they will play in your exercise?
Your footwear can have a big impact on your enjoyment of the activity and the long-term health of your posture. The type of activity, your body weight and momentum will all determine the size of the impact forces which travel up through your feet, knees, hips and back.
These 'forces' may sound harmful, but your body is designed for physical activity and will absorb these forces. However, wearing the right shoe means you give your body a hand at preventing injury - just like wearing sunscreen for your skin.
Finding the right shoe can be somewhat confusing with terms like pronation, torsion, heel counter but here are a few of the basics to consider:
Selecting a shoe means finding a balance between cushioning, stability, durability and fit. Getting this balance right will help you exercise in comfort with less risk of developing an injury.
Be sure to know what you want the shoe for, as different activities require different shoe characteristics e.g. hiking versus tennis.
Your individual action
Everyone's feet and way of walking are different. You will notice on the bottom of your older shoes that you've worn down the sole in different places to other people's shoes. This fact can inform shoe fitters about your individual foot 'action'. For example, some people's feet 'pronate' (their foot tends to roll slightly inwards as they walk), whilst other people may have 'flat feet' (their arches are low).
Find a shoe salesperson that knows about correctly fitting your shoes. Remember that you don't necessarily have to spend a fortune to find a good match for your individual foot and purpose. Having said that - don't give in to buying a shoe just because they're a bargain - your feet may suffer in the long run!
For recurring foot or shin pain - you need to see your Doctor who may refer you to a Podiatrist.