Walk properly and save the feet

This is how to walk without putting the wrong strain on your feet in the long term

With every step we take, every second we stand: Our feet must carry our weight through our lives. 26 movable bones in each foot help us do this. But due to often poor walking motion or the wrong or uncomfortable shoes, the bones can shift. The wrong footwear affects women in particular, who complain of pain in their feet nine times more often than men. Especially high shoes with a heel of more than three centimeters can lead to problems if worn over a longer period of time. But shoes that are too tight are also not a good companion through life, says Dr. Balensiefen of the Orthopädie Zentrum München Ost. “Never buy your shoes early in the morning,” therefore advises the expert, because the feet grow up to half a size larger during the day.

In addition to having the right fitting shoe, it is also important to master the correct gait. For example, if you sit up incorrectly while walking on your heels, the pressure is transmitted through your knees, pelvis and spine all the way up to your head. Shocks and jolts like these cause long-term damage to the intervertebral discs, knees and hips. For this reason, Dr. Balensiefen advises the ball gait, in which the outer forefoot is first stepped on, almost simultaneously with the ball of the foot, and only then is the heel placed on the ground. Particular care should also be taken in sports where fast and abrupt braking movements are the order of the day, such as table tennis or badminton.

In order to prevent problems, three points must be observed accordingly. A proper gait as described above, well-fitting and appropriate footwear, and strong muscles. According to Dr. Balensiefen, it is advisable for the latter to do without shoes altogether if the surface is suitable, such as grass, earth or sand. “Because barefoot running strengthens the foot muscles and counteracts malpositions,” says the expert.