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Walking for better health? It might be time to check your shoes

BioPed’s clinic manager explains why good shoes matter and how they can help to increase comfort and endurance while walking

Spring is here and many people are putting on their walking shoes and getting some much needed physical activity and fresh air.

Regular exercise, including walking, impacts physical and mental health in a number of ways, including:

  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Reduces the risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer
  • Can improve some health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint pain and stiffness
  • Strengthens bones
  • Improves balance
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves sleep

Start With a Well-Fitting Shoe

All you need to start walking is a good pair of shoes and a little time. According to Meghan Knox, Canadian Certified Pedorthist and Clinic Manager of BioPed’s Guelph location, having good walking shoes can help you to stay comfortable and increase your endurance.

“A well-fitting walking shoe can reduce discomfort so that you can walk further. If your goal is to walk for five kilometers but you can only get one kilometer, then shoes might help you to increase your activity level and reach your goal,” explains Meghan.

Each walking shoe fits differently and choosing the right one can be tricky. That’s why the pedorthists at BioPed offer lower limb and gait assessments that help them to understand the type of shoe that would work best for each individual.

“Each walking shoe is constructed with different features that are designed for different foot types. We can get really specific with footwear in order to make walking much more comfortable for people,” says Meghan. “We assess the way people walk in bare feet and focus on the way that their feet move mechanically. It helps us to better prescribe which shoe is going to fit that specific foot type.”

Additional Supports

In addition to shoes, people who are feeling discomfort while walking can also try compression socks or possibly knee braces.

The athletic compression socks on the market these days are fashionable, breathable, and work well for increased endurance. “When you are walking a lot, you build up more lactic acid on the muscle. Compression socks reduce this build up and also reduce the pooling of blood in the lower limbs. The result is less fatigue and cramping so you can keep on going for longer,” explains Meghan.

In some cases, pedorthists like Meghan may suggest knee braces to help. “With patellar tracking issues, or kneecap movement issues, the way the knee moves when you walk can cause knee pain or arthritic flare ups. A knee brace can help you to keep walking with less pain,” she says.

If you are feeling discomfort while walking, consider visiting BioPed for an assessment. Some simple tweaks to your footwear may be all you need to help you to reach your goals.

For more information or to schedule a lower limb or gait assessment, call BioPed at (519) 821-7310 or visit them online. BioPed is located at 102 Wyndham Street North in Guelph.