Feeling achy? Hear your joints snap, crackle and pop like a sad bowl of Rice Krispies®? Arthritis can hit at nearly any age, any joint and cause irreversible damage. The most alarming is hindering you from achieving your goals from Point A to Point B. Losing mobility is losing out on a lifetime of opportunities. But the right pair of shoes can give back some of that privilege and protect your joints and preserve your joy.
With dozens of arthritis conditions stemming from multitudes of diseases, it’s important to work alongside your doctor to understand what kind you have and where you are most affected, so you’re picking out shoes that support you without increasing your symptoms.
The three most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis. While they are different in their onset and patterns of symptoms, origins and demographic correlations, there is a common denominator with all. Stiffness. Pain. Swelling. Inflammation. And as mentioned before, decreased mobility and ability to perform everyday activities like open a jar of pickles or pour a bowl of cereal.
One of the main sources for diminishing some of that pain and slowing down the rate of joint deformation can be found in your wardrobe. So long as it complies with the following criteria, of course:
1) No heels: Women have said if they aren’t hurting, they aren’t helping. In other words, if you don’t feel a little pain while wearing them, they aren’t highlighting your body’s best assets. But women also say, looking back, that if they knew then what they know now, they wouldn’t have worn heels every day or so frequently. Heels conform our feet in an abnormal position, against the natural formation intended.
2) No compact flats: While compression is good, lack of arch support and narrow toes causes suppression that bends your feet incorrectly. Our feet are pliable and susceptible once slipped into shoes, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the entire silhouette of a shoe: heel, toe, sole, straps, laces.
3) More advanced flip flops: Cheap flips flops to feet is like wearing a ribbon around your neck and calling it a scarf during a blizzard. Thankfully companies have worked hard to advance the form and technology of a more stable and form-fitting shoe made with durable materials that cushions the foot, conforming to its arch and providing better quality. It’s imperative to avoid kinds that fail to provide an anatomically correct footbed thin, plastic types that do more flipping and flopping have a tendency to wear out in the heel.
4) More suspension: Yes, suspension. Have you ever ridden in a vehicle that doesn’t have suspension? The simplest thing like driving over a speed bump can eradicate all feelings of safety and comfort. When it comes to recognizing suspension in a pair of shoes, you will often find it in a pair of sneakers, but many companies are recognizing the need for this feature, incorporating patented formulas in a wide variety of shoe categories.
5) More orthopedic insoles: Whether they are sold separately or are an organic part of the shoe’s silhouette, quality insoles are the difference between walking on coals of fire or on clouds. Why so dramatic? Because an arthritic body is constantly wearing on the cartilage, every step wears away at it and without the proper insoles (and suspension) your feet aren’t properly encased in a comfortable, safe element.
6) More security & arch support: This is more than just the right fit. A secure fit is a stable fit. Often arthritis can cause weakened joints which requires additional attention. While you want a pair that is sturdy with exceptional traction you also need to look for a pair that will mold to your feet and yours alone. Just like a house’s foundation holds up a roof, arch support in your shoes ultimately affects your knees, hips and back.
While it sounds like you’ll end up with a shoe that resembles a boot for a broken leg or foot, at ELM Shoes we have a multitude of options that cover these six criteria beautifully. We can find you a fit that helps eliminate or reduce swelling, aching and most importantly slow the progression through pain management. Pain inhibits healing, but the proper footwear keeps you on your feet in comfort from 9 to 5. And here you don’t have to compromise fashion for quality of life.
Let’s get started,
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