FEELING GREAT: Helping to ensure your walks are healthy and comfortable

Summer nights, and it is one of the most perfect times of the year to get out and enjoy the fresh air and the sights of your town.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 12:00 am
let’s look at the other side of moving. Instead of running, it’s all about walking.

Where better than along the coastline or sea front? I spoke over the last 2 weeks about the joys of the return of parkrun – now let’s look at the other side of moving. Instead of running, it’s all about walking.

On the face of it walking appears to be a really safe way to keep fit and active and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re being kind to your knees by doing it regularly. But, there are a few things I’d like you to know about walking to make sure your ramble is as enjoyable, as healthy and as comfortable as possible.

So here goes: how strong and flexible your lower back is will affect how painful your knees become if you’re a regular walker. Also important is the surface you walk or run on, such as a hard or uneven surface, or a soft piece of grassland. And the one most people don’t know about: what you choose to wear on your feet.

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We are regularly offering advice and expertise on this subject to patients visiting The Paul Gough Physio Rooms, so let’s make sure you know everything you need to know about it to protect yourself as best you can.

OK, if you enjoy a gentle evening stroll along the sea front, or around the local park while chatting with a friend, then a simple pair of cushioned trainers will do. But be careful with your choice as some plimsoll-style trainers offer very little support for your ankles and feet and will mean that your knee joint is likely to be moving around a little too much.

If that happens, your knee bones will rub together, causing the wear and tear to increase. The problem is that you’ll never know it’s even happening, at least not until you see some swelling or feel heat coming from your knee. Your knee is under added stress if your footwear isn’t protecting it by absorbing some shock from the pavement and keeping it in a steady position.

A similar thing can happen if you wear flip-flops or sandals. This is a particular problem for ladies right now in the summer who choose to swap their high heels for lighter sandals. Don’t be surprised if after wearing flat sandals all day, you suddenly develop a pain in and around the back of your ankle. If you do, it’s a good sign that you’ve irritated your Achilles tendon – which can be a long-term problem that many ladies suffer from daily.

For more tips and advice, please get in touch for a FREE copy of my book The Healthy Habit. It is essential reading people aged 50+ in the North-East, and for anyone that would like to improve their own healthy habits. Please call 01429 866771 or visit paulgoughphysio.com.

Walking along the beach or around the park is one thing, but if you’re a bit more adventurous and like to walk in the hills or woods, or, you’re a serious weekend walker and part of a group who do it for more than just fun, then your footwear choice has to be much more sturdy.