© SKI Publishing
Foot Problems When Walking
By Christine Dobrowolski,
Americans are on
the go. According to an NSGA Survey, 71 million American adults are
exercise walkers, making walking the top sport in the United
States. Taking steps daily to improve health will help with America's
obesity epidemic. Sixty five percent of Americans are overweight, which
is linked to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and some types of cancer.
Walking an extra 2000 steps a day is equivalent to walking a distance
of 1 mile and to burning 100 calories. Burning an extra 100 calories
a day is equivalent to losing about 10 pounds in a year.
The American Podiatric Medical Association teamed with Prevention Magazine
to name the "12 Best Walking Cities in the U.S." The cities
were examined based on their crime rate, air quality, mass transit, historic
sites, museums, parks and gyms. The top 12 cities were San Francisco,
San Diego, Honolulu, Washington, DC, San Antonio, El Paso, St. Louis,
Madison, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey.
National campaigns, health practitioners and even major corporations
are encouraging Americans to walk more. Unfortunately, many sedentary
individuals who start walking programs quickly develop foot problems.
Almost sixty million Americans have foot problems and many develop them
after beginning a new exercise routine. A foot injury can take weeks,
even months to heal and many will gain more weight during this healing
period. Preventing these problems through education will keep Americans
- Buy a
shoe made for walking. Make sure the shoe has enough stability
and support. If you can fold the shoe in half, it is too flexible.
Make sure the shoe has enough room at the toes and is fitted well at
on flat surfaces. Do not start a walking program walking on
hills or stairs.
with a short distance. and
stick with that distance for a week. If you are pain free and injury
free, increase the distance
with an easy pace. Increase your pace gradually.
such as a track or a trail if possible. Cement can be a particularly
hard surface to walk on.
your time on the treadmill. Treadmills
can contribute to the development of foot
problems. Start with the treadmill flat and at
a slow pace. Slowly increase your pace each week. Increase the
incline after you have reached a comfortable pace.
- Stop if
you feel foot or ankle pain. Don't try to walk through the
your feet for areas of rub or irritation. the first few
weeks of your walking program and then again after trying new shoes
socks. Moleskin can be placed on areas of irritation to help decrease
Do not use bandaids on these areas.
wearing orthotics. Individuals
with flat feet may need inserts for their shoes. When buying inserts,
look for sport othotics,
to cushioned insoles. A more rigid insert will offer more support.
Custom orthotics can be made by a podiatrist if necessary.
cotton socks. Synthetic socks decrease friction, prevent excess
rubbing and don't absorb moisture. Your local running store or
sports store should carry a variety of new high-tech socks for walking.
Consult your podiatrist
if you start to develop pain when walking, or consider a visit before
embarking on your new walking program.
is a podiatrist, runner, and author of "Those Aching Feet:
Your Guide To Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Foot Problems," available
via her publisher, SKI Publishing, and at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.
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