Musculoskeletal health is one of the largest costs in healthcare today. With one in two Americans having a musculoskeletal condition, the need for proper support and body alignment has never been greater. A recent survey found that most Americans today wear three pairs of shoes throughout the week. (1) Most of these shoes were not made to support their body, to fit their feet, and are harmful to their musculoskeletal health. Your patient’s health and freedom from pain are important for their quality of life and it starts with continuous support for their body from the ground up.
Many consumers have been convinced, to get the proper support, it is only a matter of buying a more athletic, “comfortable” shoe. In 2015 alone, the athletic footwear industry generated $17.2 billion in sales according to the NPD Group. While athletic shoes being produced today may be more “comfortable”, the truth is they do not provide the support the body needs and can negatively impact posture and body alignment.
Most shoes, whether athletic or dress, are more fashion than function. When a shoe is designed, most are designed based upon a sample size. Typically, shoe companies use a men’s size ten and a women’s size eight shoe as their sample size. Manufacturers then add or subtract materials to create the larger or smaller sizes of the shoes. The outcome are shoes designed to fit and provide maximum performance for the sample size, not to each individually sized foot. (2)
Shoe companies such as Nike and Adidas have worked to remedy this. Nike’s new technology and foam sole enables Nike to make shoe sizes that fit the perfect size of the foot. This means each size is perfectly designed to maximize performance and no two sizes will have the same sole texture or design. While companies like Nike produce shoes that are made for different sizes of feet, their shoes still provide little or no support for the body.
Just look at the shoes your patients wear for evidence of the pronation in their feet. Shoes are designed to protect feet from the elements and adapt them to specific activities. They are not designed to handle the additional forces necessary to support the body. The shoes just break down. If you look at the extensive wear patterns, shoes show the evidence of the imbalances in the feet and the inability to provide the necessary support to correct them.
As a medical professional, it is vital for your patient’s health that they have the proper support no matter what shoe type they are wearing. Recommending multiple pairs of orthotics is critical to your patient’s musculoskeletal health. The effects of excessive foot pronation impacts everyone. While performing daily activities on their feet, your patients are most likely pronating wearing shoes that do not support their body. Without the proper support, their body will revert to the impact of the imbalances in their feet and, if not addressed, will cause pain in the knee, hip, back, and neck.
Far too many patients ignore and even put up with the pain caused by the poor fit and lack of support shoes provide for their body. Pronation in the feet combined with shoes that do not fit and that provide no support have a negative impact on the posture and alignment of the body. Patients who wear shoes without the proper support will regret their choice down the line. By recommending multiple pairs of custom orthotics, you can ensure your patients will have the continuity of support no matter what shoe type they are wearing. It will improve their health by helping them maintain proper posture and support and quality of life.
- Robbins, Todd (2018, February 28). How Many Pairs of Shoes Do You Wear in a Week? Retrieved from https://98txt.iheart.com/content/2018-02-28-how-many-pairs-of-shoes-do-you-wear-in-a-week/
- Tepper, Fitz (2018, January 23). Nike Just Released Its First Shoe With An All-Foam Bottom. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/23/nike-just-released-its-first-shoe-with-an-all-foam-bottom/