The shoes you wear affect how you walk, and how much shock your knees absorb. Shoes only provide the right level of support for a certain amount of steps, so even though the sneakers you bought in 2002 still look alright, they aren’t doing anything for you anymore. Time to get new ones!
The average human foot consists of 28 bones. These bones intermingle with one another painlessly because of the presence of smooth, elastic cartilage at the joints where the bones meet. However, when a person develops osteoarthritis, that cartilage begins to lose its elasticity. In the beginning the foot may simply feel stiff, but as the cartilage begins to break down from wear and tear the foot joints become inflamed leading to chronic inflammation, pain, and swelling. Even in its earlier stages, osteoarthritis of the feet can increase a person’s risk of developing other painful foot conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, and other foot deformities.
A good shoe should have special shock absorption to minimize the strain on the already fragile joint cartilage. It should also include proper arch support to prevent the foot from flattening and causing a chain reaction in the foot muscle system which can ultimately weaken cartilage. Osteoarthritic shoes should also fit loosely around the toe area to minimize pressure points. Be sure to pay special attention to the fit of the shoes width and don’t hesitate to purchase a wide or extra wide shoe if necessary.
The proper shoe can also help reduce the discomfort of OA of the knees, but you might also need an insert…
Exercise and physical activity can be wearing on your body. With every step you take you are putting pressure on your knees, back, and joints. Having a proper shoe insole with great shock absorption can help cushion the stress of your weight and in return reduce the shock that your joints and bones absorb. A good insole can not only benefit your feet, but your knee joints as well, by reducing the amount of soreness that you experience after running and other high-impact activities.
There are many types of shoe insoles, but they each serve a different purpose. The two most common insoles you may come across are gel insoles and arch support inserts. Gel insoles, also known as Dr. Scholls, are mostly used to aid to the everyday walking shoe. They are designed to provide comfort and luxury for everyday wear. Arch support insoles, such as Superfeet, are designed towards improving the functionality of your body’s overall movement. These inserts can be added to running shoes or shoes that you wear while doing physical activity. Arch support inserts add a heel cup pad for natural shock absorption, initiating proper bone alignment from first impact. While both gel and arch support insoles offer excellent benefits, arch support is the most important contribution to protecting knee joints from inflammation and swelling.
If you aren’t sure your shoes or insoles are right for you many shoe stores like Fit Right will do an in-store evaluation for you.