The Footwear Conundrum

~by SueLin Kalisch

The number one reason for people developing lower limb pain (in the absence of a specific injury) is the footwear they are using for their physical activities, especially running. Heels, Achilles, Feet, Plantar fascia, Shin, Ankles and Knees are just some of the areas that can hurt from wearing the wrong shoes, or worn out shoes.

Like tyres, your runners wear out, more so through heavy use or if you're a bigger build. To be on the safe side, retire your shoes after 12 months of use (that includes strutting around the gym), but sooner if you notice any wear and tear on the sole or upper and especially if you start to develop any persistent leg or foot aches with exercise.


To revisit our tyre analogy, different sports, like different types of driving, require specific equipment. Could you imagine putting 4x4 tyres on a Formula One car? The demands of each activity are different and manufacturers design the shoes with these factors in mind. This means running shoes for running, court shoes for tennis and fashionable trainers for, well, looking fashionable.

Lastly, different vehicles require different tyres, so too our differing bodies require different shoes. Just like our cars, which we take to specialised shops to be fitted for tyres, we should take ourselves to specialists to be fitted for shoes. There are a small number of shops who offer specialist fitting. Your LifeCare Physiotherapist or LifeCare Podiatrist can point you in the right direction to be fitted or assess your current footwear to see how they measure up.