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IS KNEE PAIN RELATED TO MY SHOES?

Have your knees racked up the slings and arrows of tendonitis, bursitis, or tissue tears? Maybe your knee pain is of the congenital variety, such as patellofemoral syndrome, chondromalacia, or a generalized osteoarthritis. Or perhaps you have nagging pain in your knees you haven’t had examined by a doctor yet and are looking to find relief without taking medication.

Did you know your knee is your body’s largest joint, designed to bear downward force in three directions while allowing for 150 degrees of movement? The entire hinge joint, as it’s termed, is cushioned and held in place by layers of superbly wound cartilage, tendon, and ligament—all working in delicate balance. If one variable is not working optimally, you’ll feel it with a vengeance. It’s no surprise that most of us suffer knee pain at some stage of life.

CAUSES OF KNEE PAIN

While knee pain can be felt at the local site, it’s usually the result of other underlying conditions, most of which can be traced to how your feet get traction as you step within your shoes. There is a pathway back to good knee health that doesn’t require pills, injections, or the dreaded unpredictability of surgery. Clouding your symptoms with steroid injections or oral medications is potentially shortsighted, given the relief that awaits with the proper arch support.

Your gut probably already tells you what an orthopedist may be reluctant to say: Correct posture aligns your body in a way that actually diminishes inflammation and pain. By making a few habit changes that are focused on proper body alignment and walking gait, you’ll find your knees (and other joints) will benefit. Making these changes are generally longer lasting and less expensive than orthopedic “quick-fixes” administered in the name of medicine. It’s also gentler on your body as compared with drastic intervention.

PROPER BODY MECHANICS TO REDUCE KNEE PAIN

The field of biomechanic science has been studying athletes, astronauts, and soldiers for the better part of a century to better understand the effects that forces have on the motion of our bodies. The value of this research is broadly applicable to anyone who goes about on two legs. It has discovered that misalignment causes strained tendons and ligaments when your knees angle away from the midline. Examples of this include internal tibial rotation, also known as “pigeon toes,” or inward arch pronation.  

But knee pain may not be a lifetime sentence, regardless of your age. If you have any type of misalignment, dynamic orthopedic insoles may be for you. Using an insole like SelectFlex allows you to choose comfortable, corrective levels of arch support and address the causes of poor knee alignment. When your knees are properly supported by your shoes and footwear, you can reduce acute knee pain. Furthermore, SelectFlex insoles are designed to reduce forces your foot experiences with each step by mimicking the ligaments in your foot and providing energy return with each step. Isaac Newton would be pleased.

KNEE PAIN AND WEIGHT GAIN

Is your knee pain partially the result of being overweight? Excess weight is especially rough on your knees, yielding 1.5 times the force of your body weight with each step, according to Harvard Medical School. But how will you walk off some of that weight when your knees hurt? The first step is to address any issues of structural alignment starting from the ground up with proper arch support to reduce foot, knee or hip pain. Dynamic arch support, available with customizable SelectFlex insoles, is a great option to get you going. Over time, you can adjust these insoles to account for changes in your own downward forces relative to your weight reduction.

ADDRESSING CHRONIC KNEE PAIN

If your pain is chronic, it’s good diagnostic practice to obtain imaging, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Even if your doctor assesses your pain as structurally or mechanically based, you may find that any kind of invasive technique is too premature, especially when structural options can be addressed with ground-up adjustable arch support. The right support can help relieve the pain you feel and slow down further damage to your joints.

BEST ORTHOTIC INSOLES FOR PEOPLE WHO WORK ON THEIR FEET

People who work on their feet all day often find it takes a toll on their feet after a while. Sore feet is a common complaint from nurses, construction workers, waitstaff, teachers and many other professions. For some, the pain goes beyond just sore feet, and results in back and joint pain as well. If you’ve thought about using an insole for foot pain relief, here’s what you need to know.

PROBLEM: STANDING FOR LONG PERIODS 

A recent WebMD.com study showed standing all day at work takes a serious toll on lower limb health due to daily muscle fatigue and may have long-term consequences for those who have to stand for prolonged periods for their work.

The study concluded standing up to five hours or more a day, contributes to significant and prolonged lower-limb muscle fatigue. This may raise your risk for long-term back pain and musculoskeletal disorders. This is bad news for the millions of bank tellers, retail assistants, assembly line workers, and others who earn their living standing on their feet.

REACTION: THE CAUSES OF FOOT PAIN FROM STANDING

A Swiss based study pointed out that almost half of all workers worldwide spend more than three-quarters of their workday standing. They noted two hours of standing on the job is not associated with problems, but "a longer period is likely to have detrimental effects," said Maria-Gabriela Garcia, a doctoral candidate within the department of health sciences at ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

"Basically, the body does not like to have the same posture or load placed on it continuously, so change is always good," said Kermit Davis, graduate program director for environmental and occupational hygiene at the University of Cincinnati. The foot’s structure will experience misalignment and pain when supportive muscles and tendons begin to fatigue after standing for prolonged periods, most especially in the arch of the foot.

SOLUTIONS: SUPERIOR INSOLES FOR PEOPLE WHO STAND ALL DAY

Shock absorbing or ‘massaging gel’ insoles provide extra cushioning when working in demanding environments, most especially on hard surfaces. A well-known maker of insoles, Dr. Scholl’s, claims “all day shock absorption, comfort and energy” from their Work Insoles product line. This type of insole absorbs foot impacts and redistributes these forces over larger surface area, to cushion the foot and lessen the impact of standing all day. The company also claims to “reduce muscle fatigue in feet and legs.” Sounds great if it works!

Most workers, especially those 45 years of age and over, require more than just shock absorption and a massaging gel. They also need foot support to make up for what they lack anatomically due to age and to allow them to comfortably stand throughout a demanding workday.

One such innovative insole that meets the needs of older workers is SelectFlex. This unique insole has a ‘PowerLift Arch™’ that actually lifts your arch upwards throughout the entire day to constantly support the foot and maintain the structure of arch. If you have sore feet from standing all day, this sounds like manna from heaven.

SelectFlex partnered with the largest orthotic manufacturer in North America and is the only arch-adjustable insole on the market. SelectFlex provides 3 comfort settings to suit your demanding needs. The tagline is “Dial-In Comfort/Adjust Away the Pain!” Jean Luc Picard, Captain of the Enterprise, famous said, “Make it so!”

A constantly-lifting arch provides all-day comfort that keeps you feeling more energized, helps reduce muscle fatigue in feet and legs, and allows you to stay on your feet longer. This is the most comfortable insoles on the market and worth a try.

BEST INSOLES FOR TENNIS

Hello, my name is David Herr and I’ve had a tennis racquet in my hand since I was four years old. I also played hockey and soccer as a kid and, later in life, picked up the game of golf, a sport that has some of the most unnatural body movements of any you can play. In my youth, I won the Kansas 5A State Championship and played D-1 at the University of Tulsa. Currently, I play two to three times a week on both hard and clay courts. Playing this much tennis, this often, I was really looking for tennis insoles that could provide my feet relief and improve my game.

KEEPING UP WITH THE DEMANDS

Now that I am in my 40s, I’ve started to pay more attention to my physical fitness, what my body may be trying to tell me, and I do a lot of research to find new products or advice that can help me with my conditioning. Over the past decade, tennis has evolved into a sport of high physical demand. Children and women can now serve the ball over 100 miles per hour and players hit groundstrokes with more topspin and with much greater pace. Because of these demands, I’m looking for anything that will help me keep my game at a high level even as I’m getting older.

TENNIS INJURIES ON THE RISE

Tennis is one of the few sports that people can play throughout their lives. Today, more and more seniors are active tennis players. Along with this has come an increase in lower extremity injuries. Tennis players are very similar to most weekend warriors in other sports such as running, cross-training, racquetball, and basketball. It is very difficult to slow them down even when they become injured.

Tennis involves a lot of foot work. Foot and ankle injuries occur from the continuous side-to-side and quick stopping and starting motions the sport requires. The type of playing surface is also a factor with hard courts being much less forgiving than clay courts. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, “overuse and excessive training can lead to heel pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains and stress fractures.” Since adding golf to my repertoire, I have suffered from lower back issues, tightness, and intermittent pain. I have used a chiropractor at times to relieve and alleviate this pain.  In the past few years I have been using a personal trainer to help strengthen my lower back muscles and glutes to provide greater support, strength and flexibility to my back and core. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine advises, “above all, listen to your body. Persistent minor aches and pains are not normal and will become aggravated if ignored or neglected. Proper care of the whole body, and especially the foot and ankle, will make tennis and other racquet sports a healthy part of life for people of all ages.”

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FEET

Recently, I’ve been paying much more attention to my feet, how they feel on the court and how they feel off the court or the next day. I had never used orthotics or shoe insoles before and always thought my foot discomfort was just a part of getting older, but figured it was worth giving them a try. So, I started trying different over the counter products that I found either on-line or at my neighborhood pharmacy. None of them seemed to make much difference and most of them didn’t hold up very well. I even tried one of those new 3D printed insoles, but they were very rigid, uncomfortable, and unforgiving on the court.

Then I came across a product called SelectFlex. Immediately after putting them in my shoes I could feel a difference. These insoles provide great arch support, and foot and ankle alignment I’d never experienced before. Without a doubt, SelectFlex has given me an edge with painless play and increased performance. The relief I now feel in my back and all down my legs is incredible. I can more aggressively push off from side to side, I feel lighter on the court and I’m getting to balls I never used to be able to get to. Today, I won’t step on the court without having them in my shoes.

I could not have found these insoles at a better time in my life, except maybe to have found them 25 years ago! I have been so impressed with them that I bought all my tennis buddies each a set for Christmas.

My advice is to listen to what your body may be trying to tell you. Don’t ignore aches and pains that never go away. And if you love the game of tennis, or any other sport for that matter, that requires a lot of movement, pay attention to your feet. They are the foundation of your entire body and they deserve proper support and alignment in order to keep you healthy and active doing the things you love most.

Don't ignore foot pain any longer. Learn more about what SelectFlex can do for your game.