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28/10/2021

Health and Fitness: On your feet all day? You need custom built support!

Health and fitness

On your feet all day? Standing desk? Working on site? Working on the farm? Behind a counter? Or on the shopfloor?

Be it standing for long periods of time or walking over 10,000 steps a day you need to have the right support for your feet! Too often I see clients who spend 10 -12 hours of their waking day on their feet and their lower back hurts, feet hurt, knees hurt and hips hurt and they have no support for their feet. They get home after work, take off their shoes, boots and everything feels stiff and achy, they feel  “like you're after running a marathon”. 

See this is not how your body feels if you have the wrong support, you cannot solve this problem with stretches because you won't have enough time to reverse the changes.

Think of it like this, if you are spending 10-12 hours a day on your feet, you need something that is going to be helping you for 10-12 hours, not a 30 second stretch done twice a day. It simply won’t work. A lot of the clients we see in my clinic have different jobs, they are different heights, different weights and have different complaints. That is the exact reason why we build custom insoles for their feet because the generic insoles, shoes will not work to help their aches and pains.

Did you ever take out the insoles of your work shoes? Boots? Wellies?

You will find no insole, or a small useless cardboard piece, the same thickness as an envelope. These boots are built to last, steel toe capped, hard to destroy but with no support, no insole Your foot is making contact with hard plastic and then the hard ground. Shoes and boots like this will destroy your feet before you get a chance to destroy the boots.

The second way to destroy your feet is wearing shoes with too much cushioning, foam, memory foam, with no structural support.

Rule of thumb if you can fold the shoe in two like the diaphragm attached, all that foam, memory foam, cushioning is useless. See you have to understand you need a combination of stiffness and cushioning, too much of anything is bad for you. The whole idea, concept of the shoe and boot is to support and protect you. The support is designed to make sure your foot moves the way it should. If you are on your feet 10-12 hours a day and are getting stiffness, aches and pains your foot is definitely not moving as it should! Putting a lot of foam underneath your feet will do nothing, it might cushion the blow for the first few steps but over time it will lose it’s memory, it’s cushion and you still have the same problem. Don’t waste your time, fix the problem at the source. In the article below I will explain how we help solve our clients issues stemming from their feet. 

What happens when you have no support? 

Your feet need support and guidance. Your feet are the source of movement both good and bad. They need to move freely so your body can move freely. They are the contact source with the ground and if your feet don’t move correctly it will mess up everything above. Look at the picture attached it shows you what should happen when you walk: 

Heel strike: When you take a step you should hit the ground with the outside of your heel. 
Loading response: You start weight bearing on the inside of your heel.
Mid stance: You put pressure through the arch of your foot.
Terminal stance:  You put pressure through your big toe. 

There is a motion that brings your weight from the outside of your foot to the inside of your foot. This requires just the right amount of support and flexibility in your footwear. Unfortunately in boots the thick plastic sole doesn't allow for your foot to be as flexible as it should. In your memory foam shoes it’s a direct contrast, they don't give any support, they are too flexible. This altered movement will cause a lot of problems in your feet, knees, hips and lower back. 

How to correct it? 

Ask yourself these questions; Are you on your feet for more than 6 hours a day? Do you have a painful issue or mobility problem? If you answer yes to these two questions you need to think about correcting your foot. I guarantee you that your foot has changed through the years of weightbearing in the wrong footwear. You need a helping hand to correct your issue, I would use my 3D custom built orthotics to help put your foot in a better position. Here is an example of two of my clients that we helped recently.

First client brought in two pairs of wellingtons and six pairs of work boots he bought to stop his lower back pain he has when standing for long periods of time. He pours concrete for a living and would be on his feet, standing for 8-10 hours a day. He explained that he has tried every type of work boot and wasted money on new ones every year. He had never thought about the thin useless insoles the boots came with. He now has two pairs of 3D custom insoles and that’s all he needs, as he can wear them in any shoe, boot, or wellington.

The second client works in a shop deli counter, standing 10 - 12 hours a day, and is getting stiffness on both knees and ankles. This client brought in a brand new pair of skechers memory foam shoes, which she bought to help with her issue. This client had very flat feet and these very soft, light shoes just allowed her feet to get flatter, what she needed was support and that’s what we gave her.

She no longer has any stiffness or pain in the evening after work. In both cases we took a different approach, we looked at their foot position, day job, height, weight and what their complaint was and we built a custom 3D insole just for them to solve their problem.  Remember, badly designed shoes will come and go, trends change, but your feet have a distinct shape and are designed to work a specific way. We know how to make sure they keep their shape and do the job they are meant to because we had to study it for four years to understand how the foot affects the rest of the body. In summary, look after your feet because they look after you. 

I hope this helps. If you have any questions or need advice you can contact us at OneHEALTH on 0858491137

Or email me personally Tommy@onehealth.ie.

Tommy Conway - Chartered Physiotherapist and Director – OneHEALTH, Tullamore

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