Now that the weather is warmer, there are more opportunities to spend time walking outdoors. Walking allows you to take advantage of many health benefits such as maintaining healthy weight, supporting heart health, improving circulation, building your leg and feet muscles, as well as increasing cardio endurance. The more you walk, the more you can benefit!
However, injuries can happen due to shoes that do not fit properly, not warming up or stretching, and/or improper posture and gait. It can lead to calluses and blisters on your feet or heels, and even rolling or spraining your ankle. If you have any of these issues or injuries, contact Dr. Carl Ingrassia of Fords Foot and Ankle Care. Our board-certified podiatrist will treat your foot and ankle needs.
Getting the most out of your walks
In order to prevent possible problems and injuries from walking take note of the following:
Size: Measure your feet standing up. Most people have one foot that is slightly bigger than the other, so make sure you buy the larger size sneakers. Your toes should have wiggle room and it should be comfortable even with socks on.
Support: If your ankles tend to roll to the inside (overpronation) or the outside (underpronation) of your foot while walking, you should wear sneakers that will support your feet appropriately. For overpronation, you would need sneakers with less cushioning, rigid soles, and a strong heel counter. For underpronation, you would benefit from shoes with heel and ankle support, shock absorption, and more cushion by the balls of the feet.
Warming up and Stretching
Before you begin your walk, warming up and stretching can help decrease the chances of injury and increase flexibility. Warm up by walking slowly or marching in place. You can also do some arm and leg swings, as well as stretching the leg and feet muscles, including hamstrings, ankles, calves, and the groin areas. This process is especially important if you intend to do some speed or power walking.
When walking, pay attention to how your feet touch the ground. As mentioned above, your feet can over or underpronate making it more likely for you to experience ankle pain when walking long distances. Having the proper support can help you go farther. Since each step goes from heel to toe and bends at the balls of the feet, your sneakers should have good flexibility in the bend area. This will prevent excessive strain on other parts of your feet and ankles. Finally, pay attention to where you are walking so that you do not injure yourself on uneven ground.
If you have any questions about your gait, please feel free to contact our office located in Fords, NJ at 732-738-4441. We offer the latest diagnostic tools and technology to prevent and treat all your foot and ankle needs.