The human body is structured to be able to efficiently hold up a certain weight. If you start exceeding that weight, your body will begin compensating or breaking down, causing pain or discomfort in certain areas. One of the most common areas that become painful when you are carrying a couple extra pounds are your feet and lower legs, and your shoes could be either helping or hurting this pain.
The arch of your foot can be thought of as a spring that absorbs the shock caused by the weight of your body when you walk or run. This spring is rated to a certain weight, let’s use 150 pounds as an example. As you start to weight more than the spring is rated for, the spring will overcompress. If you weigh 180 pounds and the spring is rated for 150, the spring will collapse under the weight, just like you see the back of a truck dip down when there is a bunch of stuff loaded in the back. This collapse of the arch of your foot then causes the rest of your ankle to roll inward with every step, a process called overpronation.
Overpronation can cause a lot of discomfort in the feet and lower legs, but this pain can be mitigated by wearing the right shoes. While there is no replacement to weight loss when trying to cure this pain, wearing a stable shoe that adds support under the arch can keep your foot in a neutral position while walking and running. While lower leg pain when you are a bit overweight is usually caused by overpronation, you can verify this by looking at the wear and tear of an old pair of shoes. If you notice that more of the tread is worn down on the inside of your shoes than on the outside, this is an indication that you are an overpronator. Also, running shoe stores such as Body N’ Sole will video tape you walking and tell you if you are an overpronator for free.
A common mistake I see people making is that when you buy shoes, they choose them based on style rather than functionality. While the Nike Free series look great, they offer zero support for your collapsing foot. You want to look for a shoe that is supportive and rigid in design. Usually, shoe companies will make these types of shoes fairly easy to identify on their websites by allowing you to search for shoes based on if they are “support” shoes. Some companies, such as ASICS, even allow you to filter shoes by whether or not they are made specifically for overpronation. Some shoes commonly worn by overpronators are the ASICS GT-2000s, Nike LunarGlides, Mizuno Wave Inspires, Brooks Adrenalines, and Saucony Hurricanes. I’ve personally run with each of the following brands, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them.
When you are buying your new pair of shoes to combat your overpronation, make sure you try them on with athletic socks on, preferably at the end of the day when your feet are a bit swollen, and that you have about a half inch of extra room in the toe box. If you decide to use insoles for a bit of extra support, purchase them before you buy the shoes so you can make sure the shoe will still feel great once you add the insoles. Spend a week or two breaking them in, and hopefully your new shoes will help alleviate any pain you may have been having.
Finally, remember to replace your shoes about every 6 months if you are active. The support will begin to break down after awhile, and you will want to replace your shoes to ensure your feet are getting the support they deserve. I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to email me with any comments, questions, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Scott Van Hoy – Click Here to view the author’s profile