Choosing The Right Shoe For Your Gait

We all know that wearing the right shoes is important, but what exactly does that mean? More importantly, how do we know what is right for us?

Well this is a brief introduction to know exactly what you’re looking for, and how you can benefit by choosing the right shoes for you.

To start, look at the bottoms of your shoes. Preferably, the ones you wear the most often. These will give you a very strong signal as to what you need. Although they may be a little dirty, and even have some leftover gum you trod in that time, what you need to be focussing on is WEAR AND TEAR. That’s right, where the sole of your shoe may be a little smoother or worn down more so than other areas. It’s this wear and tear that will indicate what kind of support your feet and gait (how you walk) will benefit from.

Inner side of foot, towards the centre line of the body wear and tear can indicate PRONATION or a gait that may roll inwards whilst walking. This is one of the more common gates, and can require support from the arch of the shoe. Next time you buy, have a feel of the inside of the shoe in the same position. A “hill” on the inside of your shoe is designed to help provide extra support to your arches, stop your feet rolling inwards too much and ensure your shoes get enough wear before collapsing or becoming too worn in.

Heel and/or ball of foot wear and tear can indicate a NEUTRAL gate, where the ankle is fairly balanced. When purchasing new shoes, it is important look specifically at the activity you are doing. Activities that require frequent stopping and starting, will require support on both sides and under the arch, this can be done through plastic lining (usually found as a decoration on the outside of the shoe), the arch support we spoke about earlier and buying shoes with laces that can be tightened are essential. For more streamline activities, a lighter running shoe is fine as long as it provides the support needed.

Outer side of foot, towards the outside of the body wear and tear can indicate a SUPINATING gait, and this basically means the ankle and foot will roll outwards in activity. These are usually those individuals prone to rolling and spraining their ankles. If you’re in this group, lace up shoes with plenty of ankle support are essential. Leather and tougher plastic decorations can be helpful to maintain stability. No matter what activity comes your way, you may need to consider shoes with a higher set ankle lining and in some cases lower arch support can be helpful.

Choosing the right shoe benefits the individual in three key areas, each as essential as the other:
> Supporting the feet effectively means supporting the entire body
> Working with your gait means giving your body the opportunity to perform to its potential
> Shoes can be extremely expensive, so choosing the right pair for you means they will last longer and serve you better.

The team at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy are experienced in a range of areas including helping you choose the right shoes for you to prevent injury, and rehabilitate back into your healthy life. Contact the practice today on (02) 4721 7798, email info@progressiverehab.com.au or book your next appointment online, here.

 

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.