Hips and knees are among the largest bones in the body. They play a vital role in supporting your body when you are walking, standing or engaging in other physical activities. If you are experiencing any form of pain in the knees, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders, there might be a connection between the shoes you wear and the pain. There is a high chance that you have been wearing shoes that lack proper arch support, thus the cause of the pain in your bones and joints. Most types of shoes that lack proper arch support such as heels and flats are meant to be worn for short periods. If you will be standing on your feet for long hours, then it’s always advisable to find a comfortable pair of shoes, which comes with the right amount of arch support.
Effects of Bad Arch Support
The arches in your feet play the role of shock absorbers, especially when you are walking or standing on hard surfaces. They lower the stress and strain placed on the hip joints, knees, and ankles. Apart from that, they ensure proper posture, to minimize back pain. On the other hand, wearing shoes that lack proper arch support can contribute to various issues, since you will be transferring that shock-absorption role to other parts of the body. Some of the issues that arise from wearing shoes with bad arch support include fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, musculoskeletal complications, blisters, Achilles tendon, as well as ingrown nails, among other problems.
Fallen arches remain the most common effect of wearing shoes that have bad arch support. Wearing shoes that don’t have sufficient arch support for a long period is one of the reasons that contribute to this condition. With flats and flip-flops increasingly becoming popular, most people are stocking up on them and using them as their daily footwear. However, most of these shoes, regardless of how stylish they are, lack proper arch support – thus leading to fallen arches. People with fallen arches find it extremely painful to walk for long periods or even exercise. Specially designed orthotic inserts or medication might be needed to alleviate the pain caused by fallen arches.
Wearing shoes that lack sufficient arch support can also contribute to plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation and pain of the plantar fascia. Since your plantar fascia is exposed to considerable amounts of pressure and impact during arch support, it can easily become irritated or inflamed, especially if your shoes don’t have the right levels of arch support. When you wear shoes that lack proper arch support, the arches will drop while the ligaments and tendons will overstretch. If left untreated, the plantar fascia can deteriorate, leading to bigger issues. Walking, running or standing can contribute to increased pain and inflammation for people with plantar fasciitis. If you insist on wearing flat shoes or flip-flops, ensure they have proper arch support to prevent inflammation and pain especially if you have plantar fasciitis.
As noted above, wearing shoes with bad arch support can also lead to musculoskeletal complications. Due to the connection between the heel and the plantar fascia, any damage that occurs to the plantar fascia also affects the calf muscles and the heel. It might also extend to the back and shoulders. Therefore, choosing a pair of shoes that lack reliable arch support will not only affect your feet but it will also to pain, improper posture, as well as other complications in various parts of the body.
Also, shoes that lack proper arch support, as well as those with unsupportive soles, can lead to excessive strain on the heel bones. As a result, you might end up with Achilles tendon or blisters, as the rear part of the shoes rub against your heels. Another issue is that most shoes that lack proper arch support such as flats also tend to be made of thin material, which lacks sufficient protection. Apart from contributing to painful bones and joints, these shoes also expose your feet to cold, wet surfaces, uneven ground or falling objects. Wearing them for long periods can lead to can lead to severe feet damage.
Benefits of Wearing Shoes with Proper Arch Support
As noted earlier, your feet support the entire weight of your body. And if your footwear doesn’t provide sufficient arch support, then you might end up with pain and discomfort in various parts of the body. On the other hand, wearing shoes with ample arch support helps to alleviate painful feet, among other benefits. Shoes with sufficient arch support or custom orthotics help to provide cushioning around and beneath the arches. Apart from being engineered to take care of your arches, proper arch support help to realign your foot, thus helping to alleviate issues such as flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
Wearing shoes with proper arch support can also help to reduce foot pain. An average person takes approximately 5,000 to 10,000 steps per day. Apart from that, others spend more than 8 hours standing on their feet. If you are wearing shoes with poor arch support, you can imagine the toll it will take on your feet. Arch support shoes or slippers also come with ample toe room, which allows your toes to move around comfortably. The best arch support shoes are also roomy inside, combined with ample cushioning, to protect your feet against blisters. Also, arch support shoes, also come with the right heel height, thus ensuring your foot assumes a comfortable and natural position. When your feet are properly supported and you can stand firmly, you can comfortably go around your tasks, leading to more productivity.
Another reason why you should consider shoes with proper arch support is that they can promote blood circulation. If you have arthritis or diabetes, then you need to wear proper footwear. You need to ensure that the shoes you are wearing have reliable arch support and they are comfortable. Also, they should be made of materials that are not sensitive to your skin. In fact, wearing shoes with proper arch support and the right amounts of cushioning can prevent a person with diabetes to avoid foot surgery.
Great arch support also creates a good foundation. Most people experience foot and back pain due to lack of proper foundation. And when their shoes fail to provide the required levels of arch support, the problems can escalate, to the point of requiring surgery. Also, footwear with sufficient arch support helps in correcting pronation and supination. Pronation refers to collapsed arches, thus allowing the ankles to incline towards the body’s midline. When this happens, there will be increased strain on the hips, lower back, and knees. Pronation also increases vulnerability to knee injuries. On the other hand, supination is common in people with high arches. As a result, the ankles tend to lean outwards and further away from the body’s midline. Just like pronation, supination also contributes to additional stress on the lower back, ankles, and knees. Wearing arch support shoes and slippers can help to correct these common foot problems while providing overall foot and body balance.
Diet for Joint Pain
Apart from wearing shoes with proper arch support, eating the right foods also helps to alleviate joint pain while strengthening your ankles and knees. Some of the foods to consider include fish oil, nuts, cherries, cruciferous vegetables, herbs and spices, ginger, green tea, turmeric, and pineapple, among others. Joint pain usually happens due to oxidative stress. Therefore, eating foods that have plenty of antioxidants such as cherries can lower the oxidation levels while preventing tissue destruction. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, consuming tart cherry juice every day helps to decrease inflammation and help you sleep better as an added bonus. You should also consider adding garlic to your meals whenever you are cooking. Apart from reducing inflammation, Garlic also helps to stimulate the immune cells in the body.
Hot peppers are also a great addition to your diet if you experience painful feet and joints. They contain capsaicin, which helps to alleviate pain and prevent inflammation. It’s also advisable to eat canned salmon regularly if you want to keep your bones healthy and strong. Salmon and other types of fish contain Vitamin D and calcium, which strengthen bones in the body. Salmon is also rich in Omega-3S that helps to prevent inflammation. Turmeric is also highly beneficial if you want to keep your joints strong and pain-free. Ensure you incorporate turmeric into your cooking for at least twice or thrice per week to enjoy its anti-inflammatory benefits. However, you should also note that turmeric can be a blood thinner. Therefore, consult your physician before adding it to your diet.
You can also alleviate joint paint by eating leafy greens. Leafy greens are rich in Vitamin K, which features anti-inflammatory properties. Also, both the bone and the cartilage have proteins that rely on Vitamin K. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to include it in your diet at least thrice per week. Some of the leafy greens to add to your diet include Swiss chard and kales, among others. Fortified milk is also great for your bones. Apart from its great taste, fortified milk comes with Vitamin D and Calcium, which help to prevent fragility in bones. On the other hand, if you are lactose intolerant, then you can explore options such as almonds, soy and coconut, since they are also rich in Vitamin D. Fortified cereals are also rich in Vitamin D. Therefore, adding them to your diet will strengthen your joints and bones, thus helping to prevent painful knees, ankles and back. Some of the foods to avoid include red meat, fried foods, sugar and refined flour, gluten, processed foods and alcohol.
Exercises for Joint Pain
Did you know that exercising can alleviate joint pain? Well, most people who experience painful joints, tend to avoid exercises, since they assume they will end up with more pain. However, that is not always the case. For instance, walking helps to alleviate sore joints. And the good news is that it’s free and you can do it anywhere. Apart from that, walking also helps with weight loss. As a result, your legs will have a lower weight to carry, thus easing pain and stress in the joints. Also, if you have aching joints, then you should also consider swimming. Immersing your body in water helps to soothe your joints, and stretch your muscles. Just like walking, swimming also helps with weight control. Cycling is also a great way to exercise if you have arthritis or other conditions that lead to aching joints. Unlike traditional jogging, cycling works with a wide range of body muscles, thus improving core strength and helping with proper body posture.
If you have aching joints, then you should consider balance exercises such as Yoga. Yoga helps to improve coordination, positional awareness, proper body balance as well as preventing falls. Apart from that, these exercises help to boost flexibility, which is highly beneficial for people whose occupation involves plenty of movement. However, since people have unique body types and joint issues, some of these exercises require modification, so that they can adjust to your body type, weight and extent of the pain. Therefore, it’s advisable to work with a fitness professional, who will customize the exercise according to your unique needs. Apart from exercising, if you experience painful joints, then you should consider complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, osteotherapy, hydrotherapy, and aromatherapy, just to name a few.
Proper arch support offers a wide range of benefits for people with various foot problems. It also helps to protect your feet, if your work involves standing for long periods, especially if your work has any kind of health hazards. And since our feet play a vital role towards the quality of our life, it’s of utmost importance to do everything within our means to ensure they are as pain-free and comfortable as possible. One affordable and easy way of achieving this is by ensuring that you the shoes you are wearing have sufficient arch support at all times. And you should always remember that it’s always cheaper to prevent than to treat.