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How Your Shoes Affect Your Risk of Knee Pain

As the largest joint in your body, your knee plays an important role in helping you live a normal lifestyle. A healthy knee allows full range of leg movement and normal walking, running, jumping, and turning. With every step, your knee absorbs two to four times your body weight. 

Knee pain can occur in people of all ages for many different reasons. Medical conditions such as connective tissue disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infections can cause painful swelling in your knee joints. Knee trauma can result from injuries such as fractures, a dislocated kneecap, and knee bursitis. Overworking or overstretching your knee can also injure your tendons or ligaments.

The expert regenerative and chiropractic specialists at New Hampshire Regenerative Center, LLC, in Manchester, New Hampshire, can help identify and treat the source of existing knee pain. As knee pain specialists, the staff can advise ways to improve your pain while also helping you heal. Treatment recommendations include advising patients about taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of knee pain. 

Read on to find out how your shoes can affect your risk of knee pain and what you can do to make sure you’re wearing the right ones. 

Support and comfort

Shoes that provide support and comfort promote proper balance and leg alignment. This helps take the pressure off your knee joint. Comfort features like cushioned insoles can help absorb the stress on your knees. Even if your shoes don’t have these features built in, well-fitting, insertable insoles can deliver a similar effect. 

Inflexible construction can restrict your foot. You may react by changing your natural stride, which can contribute to knee pain by altering the amount of pressure your knee absorbs. Running shoes, which typically offer extra cushioning and flexibility, may provide the best option for walking and everyday use. 

Unfortunately, your shoes’ support and comfort can deteriorate with wear. When the tread pattern on your soles wears down, or the heel of your shoe shows more wear on one side than the other, it can cause your foot to shift or walk unevenly. This can put extra pressure on your knees. Shoes used for running can require replacement about every 300 to 500 miles while walking shoes can last up to nine months before needing replacement. 

Natural positioning

Shoes with high heels can upset the natural alignment necessary to support your knees. When the heel of your foot is raised higher than your toes, your weight-bearing line tips forward. This makes your quadriceps work harder to hold your knee straight. The unnatural position results in knee pain.

With low heels, flats, and running shoes, your foot remains closer to the floor and your heel remains relatively in line with the rest of your foot. As a result, your quadriceps don’t have to work as hard to keep your knee stable and the risk for pain is reduced. 

Specific needs

If want to make sure your shoes don’t increase your risk of knee pain, you may benefit from purchasing shoes where specialty salespeople can make recommendations based on your unique gait and foot structure. Anatomical differences like flat feet or high arches can require different types of shoes to provide the right support.

If your shoes wear unevenly, you may have to investigate shoes that meet specific gait issues. You can identify gait issues by examining your worn-in shoes. 

Shoes with excessive wear on the front part can indicate overpronation, in which your foot turns too far inward with each step. Shoes with excessive wear on the outer edges indicate underpronation, meaning your foot shifts outward with each step. This places most of the impact on the outer bones of your foot. 

If you know your specific issue, you can select the right shoes and inserts to counter the problem. This can help reposition your foot toward a normal gait and avoid putting extra pressure on your knees.

Find out more about modifications you can make to reduce your risk of knee pain. Schedule an appointment online or call our office to arrange a consultation. 

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