If you’re having trouble sleeping at night and you’re often exhausted, you may want to reconsider the shoes you wear every day. Recently, new technology has been developed that allows us to track our steps. How many do you take every day? Most of us take more than 5,000 steps per day, and most of us have problems with our feet. Expert studies have shown that our health may depend upon our shoes more than we realize: more than 40 million days of work are lost every year because of foot and back pain.
Our 5,000 steps per day add up over time: in the course of our lifetimes, the average person will walk the equivalent of five times around the entire earth. What we don’t realize is that if we don’t invest in sturdy shoes that are made to support our weight, we may be doing permanent damage to our feet. There are more than 50 bones in our feet, and women who wear high heels report foot problems more than four times as frequently as men. If you wear high heels to work, wear a pair of sandals or moccasins to drive there: change before you go in and your feet will thank you.
If we are wearing the wrong shoes, our feet will inevitably complain. Podiatry offices treat people year round for bunions, calluses, and fallen arches. Wearing shoes that are not supportive can actually aggravate our foot pain: almost half of all podiatry complaints relate to pain caused by fallen arches and calluses. Visit your local orthopedic shoe store or look online for specialty footwear. Nurses and doctors prefer to wear extremely supportive shoes: you could try searching for “health care footwear.” Many athletes also wear specialized footwear: try asking your gym for guidance when it’s time to invest in new shoes.
Once you get a new pair of shoes, wear them around the house for three or four days to stretch the leather and break them in. You don’t want to get stuck at the office in a new pair of shoes that hasn’t stretched out all the way. Just wear new shoes for a few minutes at a time at first, without socks and then with socks, to get them to conform to the shape of your feet. As you’re breaking in new shoes, store them in a cool, dark place and stuff them with paper towels so that they retain their shape. After a few days to a week, you can wear your shoes to work: just take an older pair with you in case you develop foot pain during the course of the day.
We have such a love/hate relationship with our feet, but we should be babying them: more than 20% of American adults report that they think their feet are ugly. If you want to improve your relationship with your feet, get periodic pedicures. The foot specialists at your beauty salon are trained to offer relief for tired and overworked feet. Pedicures are a painless foot treatment, and specialists are trained to massage arches and to make your feet feel better. If you get regular massages, ask your massage therapist to focus on your feet for 20 minutes to half an hour.
Foot and ankle problems may be caused by our shoes, but foot pain can also be caused by foot deformities or by back pain. If you’re experiencing foot pain that is not relieved by massage or by new shoes, you may want to talk to a foot doctor. They can examine your feet and your back: your pain may stem from an undiagnosed back or neck injury. There is a wide range of possible causes for chronic foot pain, but investing in orthopedic shoes seems to help ensure that your feet will still be happy after a long day at work.