In an average lifetime it is estimated that we walk about 100,000 miles.
So, “how does walking affect your feet?” Walking helps the ligaments, tendons and muscles in our feet to work more efficiently and helps maintain suppleness and flexibility. Walking at a brisk pace for regular exercise helps condition your body and improves overall cardiovascular health in the same way running and jogging does, but compared with running, walking carries a significantly lower risk of injury.
So even if your job involves sitting in the office or at home, get up and walk briskly for at least 30 minutes every day.
Feet are adaptable and will withstand a lot of pressure before they complain. If you enjoy walking, it’s important to wear the correct footwear, that doesn’t damage your feet. The key to keeping your feet healthy and comfortable, regardless of the type of walking you do, is wearing properly fitting footwear. When buying walking shoes, try several different brands, styles and most importantly sizes. You’ll soon find that one manufacturer style size may not be the same size as another.
Your feet can expand as much as half a size during the day, so buy shoes in the afternoon or early evening when your feet are at their largest. This will help protect them as they expand during your long walks. Also, wearing the same type of socks when fitting shoes that you wear when you walk will help you choose the correct shoes. Once you have made your purchase – take care of them!
If you are going on a long walk, prepare well ahead. Wear your shoes for a ‘trial walk’ and build up the distance gradually; don’t try to complete a Marathon on your first trip! It’s also a good idea to pay a visit to your foot health professionals, such as our team at We Fix Feet – Podiatry & Foot Healthcare Clinics, who will be able to give advice, and treat any corns, callus or any foot issue you may have. Take some first aid supplies, including sterile plasters and antiseptic cream on your walking trip in case of accidents.
It’s also a good idea to put rub Vaseline between your toes to prevent chafing. Begin your walk at a slow pace and gradually increase the speed of your walk. This will give the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments that make up your feet the chance to get gradually used to the activity. If you experience any discomfort or foot pain, then it may be an indication that something is wrong. In many cases, early diagnosis can prevent a small injury from becoming a larger one.
Here are some tips to bear in mind:
- When buying walking shoes, wear the same socks that you will wear when walking.
- Try on at least four or five pairs of shoes.
- Remember that walking boot sizing will vary between manufacturers and styles, as with all shoes.
- Put on and lace both shoes of each pair and walk around for a minute or two.
- Good foot care is essential in keeping your feet comfortable, as well as fatigue and injury free.
- If you experience any sort of foot pain, visit our clinics for treatment
- Before and after you walk, go through a warm-up and stretching routine.
Orthotic insoles may also help provide additional shock absorption, stability and support to your feet