Appropriate Footwear

Posted: 7th November 2016

Appropriate Footwear

Frances Aylen BSc Hons OST Osteopath

What a beautiful autumn it has been so far and many of my patients have made use of the better weather by working hard in the garden or going for long walks and short city breaks for lots of sight seeing.

The difficulty with the change in the season is the change in our foot wear; often flat summer slip on shoes are not appropriate for long walks on hard cobbles but a few people want to wear enclosed shoes in the heat. The combination of vibration and pressure into the sole of the foot irritates the ball of the foot, the flat pads in the heels (bursitis) or can lead to inflammation of the sole (plantar fasciitis). Wellington boots offer little support too and can lead to Achilles tendon strains, medial arch problems and in the long term to formation of varicose veins.

Usually, vibration from walking travels up the leg into the pelvic girdle and low back and should be dissipated by moving through the limbs and joints in a balanced manner. Unfortunately, if your arches are dropped or you are suffering from shortening of calf muscles or ligaments the knees , hips and lower back can end up being the secondary sites of pain and in the long term damage to bursa and joint surfaces will occur.

Two of my patients also aggravated their spinal stenosis symptoms ( narrowing of the bony canal around the spinal cord) by walking in the flat gym shoes for too long.They thought the the pain in their ankle and foot was ligament strain and didn't immediately realise the seriousness of what they had done to their spinal cord. 

Osteopathic treatment can really help stop the progression of symptoms and patterns of shortening and contracting of muscles, ligaments and joint strains before they become a real problem. Foot arches can be miraculously helped with manipulation, articulation massage and deep work can be done to the sole of the foot, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Checking and treating the knees, hips, sacroiliac joints and lumbar spine can also stave off problems.

There are many exercises that help too: standing on a step on the ball of the foot and dropping the heels up and down, picking up pencils with your toes, stretching hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and the iliotibial band.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms you can come and be checked and treated at 56 London Road Clinic Where Frances Aylen works Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Frances Aylen qualified from British School of Osteopathy in1999, as well as structural  osteopathy, she is also fully qualified to treat using Cranial Osteopathy