How Does Walking Affect Your Feet?

Our bodies were designed for movement, so walking is a great way to get in your daily exercise; however, this does not mean it isn’t tough on our feet. In an average lifetime, we will walk a colossal 100,000 miles; how can this not have some sort of impact? Walking helps to build up the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently and keep them agile and flexible! 

The good news is our bodies are incredibly adaptable, including the small parts such as our feet! They can suffer a large amount of pressure before they rebel, so don’t let the risk of foot problems stop you from taking that hike you were so looking forward to! With this in mind, it is also vital that we do not sit for prolonged periods; if your job requires a lot of sitting, make sure you take a short walk when you take a break! 

Much like running and jogging, walking helps condition your body and improves your overall cardiovascular health with a lot less risk of injury. Although, you should consult with a podiatrist if you begin to experience pain when walking or consider a visit before embarking on your walking adventures. 

Even though our feet are resilient, it’s important we take care of them properly to prevent injury or strain, so continue reading to learn more.

How to stay comfortable on your walk

One of the most important things to remember to keep your feet healthy and comfortable is wearing correctly-fitting footwear regardless of the walking you participate in; if you’re going for a hike, you should opt for something with more grip to prevent you from falling or twisting your ankle, and if it’s a city walk, choose some comfortable and breathable footwear, like trainers. 

Like many people, you may have discovered that one manufacturer’s size may not necessarily be the same as another’s, so you must try different styles and sizes to see which fits you best. 

Did you know your feet can expand by as much as half a size during the day? This is why it’s best to shop for your new footwear in the afternoon or early evening when your feet are at their largest. 

You should also remember that shoes will give slightly, but not a lot. If they’re too tight when you try them on, go for the next size up – don’t assume they will stretch to the right size.

Furthermore, when trying new shoes, you should ensure that you wear a similar sock style to those you plan to wear on your hike or walk. Hiking socks are often thick and will need more space in your boot than trainer socks will take up. 

Here are a few tips to bear in mind:

  • Try on at least four or five pairs of shoes to ensure you have the best fit
  • Put on and lace both shoes, then walk around for a minute or two to see how they feel on your feet.

Once you’ve purchased your new shoes, ensure you care for them properly. This includes polishing them regularly to keep them clean and washing the inside, allowing them to dry thoroughly before wearing them again, as this helps to prevent fungal infections. 

If you plan to take up walking as exercise or intend to complete a big hike, make sure you plan well ahead! Wear your new shoes on a ‘trial walk’ and gradually build up the distance; don’t try to complete a marathon on your first trip!

Top tip: Remember to pack some first aid supplies, including sterile plasters and antiseptic cream; you never know when accidents may occur, especially blisters, as new shoes can rub in different places.

If you experience any discomfort or pain when walking, book an appointment with Health First Southam for a thorough foot examination. We will be able to provide you with advice to prevent foot problems as well as treat any issues you may be having.