How often do you think about how you walk? Have you ever looked at the bottom of your shoes? Go ahead and pick them up and take a look at how the soles are wearing. Is the wear different between the two shoes? It’s more common than you’d think.
Many people I’ve worked with had ankle, knee and/or back pain. Many of these problems come from the body’s center: the pelvis. If the pelvis is rotated more to one side than the other, or up higher on one side than the other it will affect the way you put pressure on the joints below the hips: as in your knees and ankles.
Everyone has a dominant side, and even people who have never had an accident or injury sometimes experience some imbalance due to one side of their body being more developed than the other. Totally normal, but again something you can figure out yourself by looking at your shoes.Other problems that cause pain can be from old injuries, surgeries and overuse. You can discover a lot about you own imbalances just by tuning into your gait and noticing how you apply pressure in each of your feet.
If you follow my blog, you know I recommend the Vibram-5 Finger shoes because they separate the toes (allowing for natural shock absorption to occur in the feet between the metatarsals, or foot bones) and develop the muscles in your feet that help you balance and align your body.
It’s much easier to tune into correct and even alignment when you’re barefoot… and I want you to take a minute right now to slip off your socks and shoes and take a walk down the hall in your bare feet. Watch and feel your feet and pay attention to how much weight you put on your heel and then your toes as you step forward. Also notice if you’re walking more on the outside or inside of both feet, or just one foot.
What did you notice? And if you noticed that you weren’t walking evenly on both feet, were you able to catch yourself and correct it?
Now I want you to put your shoes back on and do the same walk. Notice how you have trained yourself to walk a certain way in your shoes, almost without thinking about it. If you were able to tune into your imbalances and notice them when you were barefoot, I bet it’s going to feel a little funny when you put your shoes back on.
The Vibrams aren’t for everyone, but they really do allow for more proprioceptive awareness in your gait, just like walking barefoot. Sneakers, with their arch support and cushioning won’t always allow you to feel that you’re walking/running unevenly and not distributing your weight the same on both feet.
Imbalance in the feet can be caused by many different things, and you may need some resources to get yourself in balance. But you can help yourself by bringing awareness to the way your feet move and carry you around on a daily basis. Remember, they are the foundation your entire structure rests on, and though we often take them for granted we wouldn’t get very far without them.