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Jun 06, 2019 09:22:14

Feet and proper shoes

by @brandonwilson PATRON | 447 words | 315🔥 | 315💌

Brandon Wilson

Current day streak: 315🔥
Total posts: 315💌
Total words: 104112 (416 pages 📄)

My father one time told me, "Take care of your feet. They are the only ones you get." Unfortunately, he did not take his own advice. In his later years, he had a toe amputated and needed negative-pressure wound therapy treatment due to complications from type 2 diabetes. 

A few months ago I was having issues with my calves tightening up, which culminated in muscle spasms during a massage. My massage therapist asked me if I changed shoes often. I said I do. I wear sandals or tennis shoes at home, but I wear dress shoes on the road. She mentioned shoe inserts as a potential option. Apparently if you change shoes but keep the same inserts, it is better for your feet and overall posture.

So, off I went to Walmart, which has a handy dandy Dr. Scholl's test station. You stand on the platform and perform various tests including standing on one foot and leaning in certain directions. Once the evaluation is complete, the machine provides you with a recommendation for a specific design of a pair of gel/rubber shoe inserts at about $60/pair. These are not the same thing as the cheap thin white inserts with the tiny holes. I was willing to try these inserts if it meant avoiding another round of muscle spasms in the calves.

I tried the inserts and they actually worked. I wore them in my tennis shoes at home, and then I put them in my dress shoes for travel. No more spasms. 

Fast forward to this week, and I forgot to put the inserts in my dress shoes. I have not had any muscle spasms, but I can feel my calves getting tight again. 

I think now is a good time to evaluate my footwear. I have zero interest in the fashion aspect. I don't care if it looks like I'm wearing two shoe boxes on my feet as long as the shoes are comfortable and there are no issues with muscle spasms or proper posture. At this point it appears to be a combination of foot inserts and proper shoes as the winning formula.

Choosing shoes is similar to choosing a mattress. You can't just put them on, walk around the store, and assume you are good. Shoes have to be "broken in" and used for awhile to determine whether they are ultimately going to serve your needs. I dread the process the same way I dread clothes shopping. 

How to decide which shoes are the most comfortable? Someone told me one strategy is to look at what old people are wearing. You know they will definitely be wearing comfortable shoes, right @mikebyrnes ? Sorry couldn't resist!


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    @brandonwilson - I most definitely need to take care of my legs. I do a good job of only wearing comfortable shoe but I never tried the inserts. I hate shoe shopping as well.
    Thank you for sharing this Brandon.

    Keni avatar Keni | Jun 06, 2019 15:02:46
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    @brandonwilson I am a bit of a personal expert on feet, shoes and foot problems. I have suffered from Plantar Fasciitis for years and have done lots of research on the topic, what works best and what not to do.

    Orthotics are just a way to get relief - but only temporarily. Research has shown that the benefits of wearing them only last for 3 months. Any longer than that, then you risk altering the way your foot mechanics work, making long-term recovery harder. Also, research has shown that the off-the-shelf orthotics are just as good as more expensive ones. Wish I knew that before I paid out £250 for a pair of custom made ones (that were useless in the end).

    You are right though, changing shoes is not good for your feet, especially if the styles are different, making you walk/run or even stand in different ways. I found that getting a proper pair of running shoes fitted for my particular gait (and tendency to pronate on my right ankle) works best for me. I wear them all the time, but try to go barefoot at home which helps keep the muscles in my feet working properly.

    But aside from shoes and inserts, the main issue is that you need to address the root cause of the problem, which is that your feet, legs or hips are not working correctly. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by tight calf muscles, so definitely look into getting some regular stretches (gentle lifts on the stairs are good). It would also be worth seeking assistance from a podiatrist who will look at the way you are walking. It could be a simple hip mobility problem - just try to find one that promotes proper foot health and won't just try to flog you more orthotics, injections or quick-fix therapies. Unfortunately, this might be harder than you think.

    Check out the http://www.thefootcollective.com/ site - they have some good information and sensible advice.

    Twizzle avatar Twizzle | Jun 06, 2019 18:25:20
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      @twizzle Wow! Thanks for the incredibly detailed response. I have been told I have an unusual gait, and I do have a "trick hip" that allows me to bend my legs in rather strange positions. It's great for a parlor trick but not so great for walking apparently. I will continue educating myself on this topic.

      Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jun 06, 2019 17:59:14
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    @brandonwilson Sounds to me like you are an aspiring geezer. You can't find a better source of information about feet than from someone who has been wearing his for over 70 years.

    Now. About your feet. Have I told you about the time when ....

    Mike Byrnes avatar Mike Byrnes | Jun 06, 2019 12:07:53
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      @mikebyrnes I think I was an aspiring geezer in my early 20's when hostesses at restaurants were already calling me "Sir."

      Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jun 06, 2019 17:59:50
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    @brandonwilson Old guys are excellent opinion resources. And we never charge. The trick is getting away before the sun goes down. ;-)

    Mike Byrnes avatar Mike Byrnes | Jun 06, 2019 12:07:05
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