Examining a well-worn pair of shoes can reveal information about how you walk and the body mechanics that are happening behind the scenes. The way you walk will determine how the sole of your shoe wears down and this can be indicative of issues you may have with your gait.
Knowing how your feet are working is important, especially for runners. As runners put their feet through more intense activity, understanding your gait can help save you from injury. By adapting your running style or using inserts in your shoes, you can save yourself from issues with your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.
There are 3 types of gait. This is the pattern that is found in your stride and effects your pronation, or the way your feet land as you walk. Your feet should land heel first on the floor, and then roll forwards to your toes.
The three types of gait are: -
- Normal – your foot acts as it should.
- Over-pronation – ankles roll inwards and downwards. This can lead to your toes becoming overworked as they your foot twists rather than push off. Overpronation can lead to knee pain, shin splints and back trouble. This symptom is particularly common for people with flat feet.
- Under-pronation – also known as supination, this is where the ankles and foot roll outwards. Putting more pressure on the outside of the foot and the smaller toes, it is common amongst people with rigid, high arches. This type of gait is commonly associated with iliotibial band syndrome which effects the knees and the hip.
Checking the Wear on Your Soles
You can check your gait, even the slightest deficiency, through the wear on the soles of your shoes. Investigating the areas of the sole that have worn will give you an idea of how your feet impact the floor.
- Natural gait – wear is under the ball of the big toe.
- Over-pronation – wear occurs towards the inside of the sole by the big toe.
- Under-pronation – wear is more towards the little toe and around the outside of the heel
Unfortunately, for the most part, the way you walk will be down to genetics, the way you have grown or ill-fitting footwear. You can correct under- and over-pronation with inserts or specially designed footwear. These can be essential if you are a runner as over time, an off gait can lead to multiple problems in later life.
At Clarks, we offer several different sizes of shoe, that should account for most feet. If you feel you have an issue with your gait that could be causing problems, it is best to see your doctor or a specialist.