Health

Are Your Cute Flats Causing Your Knee Pain? 2018

Are your cute flats causing your knee pain?  Flat shoes don’t cause problems.  High heels cause problems. Right?  Not so fast.

We’ve known for years that high heels can be the cause of pain by putting additional stress on your knees and the muscles surrounding them.  They can also be the culprits of unexplained hip pain and put your back out of alignment.  But did you know the same can be true for flats?!

If you have poorly defined arches, or flat feet, your ankles likely pronate a little or a lot.  Pronating means  your foot and ankle roll inward, and without a supportive shoe it can cause your ankle and knee to be thrown out of alignment which can result in pain and soreness in your ankle and knees.  This can and does lead to hip and lower back pain – not to mention Advil and Tylenol.  How do I know this? Experience my friends.

 

Over time pronation can result in inflammation of the anterior and posterior tibial tendons in your ankles and feet and can cause damage to the bones, ligaments and tendons in your feet.  According to podiatrist Phillip Vasyli in this article published in Shape Magazine ,”Excess pronation is a condition that affects 75 percent of the population and has been related to many conditions, such as heel pain (otherwise known as plantar fasciitis), knee pain, and even lower-back pain”.

The problem with flats is that they usually have very little if any support.  Think flip flops, ballet flats, even sandals and loafers.  Most have a thin sole, which don’t provide any shock absorption.  Even if there is some type of liner inside the shoe, it doesn’t have adequate arch support.  They’re so easy to put on and comfortable around your feet, you think they must be good for you, but without any structure to stabilize your footbed problems can arise.

A good shoe that supports your foot will have a decent sole thickness, meaning you won’t feel the ground you’re walking on.  They will also have some type of formed footbed including arch support to keep your foot and ankle from pronating, and possibly a slight depression where your heel hits, to cup your heel, and keep your foot aligned.

If you already have foot, ankle, knee, hip or lower back pain, ditch the flip flops and make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.  Earlier is better.  Don’t wait until you can’t bend your knee to see someone.  The doctor will examine your feet and ankles.  They’ll analyze the way you walk.  Some even video tape your gait and can show you how your feet and ankles move when you walk.   They should do a full exam and possibly take x-rays.  If they recommend orthotics as a solution to your pain problems, there are usually options you can purchase though their office, but check the prices and shop around.  It’s often cheaper to get ankle and knee braces, or orthotics, outside of the office, on amazon or at a good shoe store.

If you love wearing flats like I do, you have a couple of options.  You can bite the bullet and go shopping for a pair of cute flats that have support built into them already.  Below are some links to a few places to help you start your search for supportive flats.  You may have to do some footwork (pun intended) to find a “cute” pair that have the support you need.  They aren’t all as fashion forward as we’d like, but you can easily find a pair at one of these sites to wear with casual outfits that will ease your pain.

Clark Shoes

ABEO Footwear

Barking Shoes

Dansko Shoes

Naot Shoes

Vionic Shoes

The Walking Company

Another option is to buy the shoes you like and separately purchase an orthotic insert to put into them.  Sneakers and athletic shoes are fairly easy to fit with inserts. My orthopedist recommended a brand called Super Feet Insoles which you can buy at most good shoe stores or online.  They come in several colors indicating several different support structures.  They are priced between $44.95 and $59.95.

I’ve found it difficult to put a full size insert into some shoes.  But recently I found a great option for a pair of flats I already owned.  My local New Balance store offers a  “Fashion Orthotic Insert” and you can buy it in store.  For some reason it isn’t on their website yet, but if you ask at a store the product number is NB100.  I researched it and it is actually made by a company called Aetrex Worldwide Inc.  You can buy it here on Amazon. (It just won’t say New Balance.)  One pair of these inserts will run you about $45.  They are light, fit easily into my flats, and have adhesive dots on the bottoms to make them stay in place.  So far they are working out well for me.

We already do a lot of things proactively to take care of our health.  We eat right, exercise, and take vitamins.  We also need to take proactive measures when it comes to our feet.  If we keep them in good shape they’ll be able to take us wherever we want to go for many years to come.

Be well:)  And please share if you find a shoe insert that has helped you relieve your knee pain.  I’d love to hear about it!

 

XO

Kate

 

Don’t ring in 2018 with the flu!

So… you probably guessed by the title.  I rang in 2018 with the flu.  Not exactly the night I had planned;)

But, there are two ways to look at this my friends.

# 1. How depressing! I can’t believe this is how I started 2018!

OR

#2. I’m SO glad I got that over with! 2018 only gets better from here!

I am choosing #2.  2018 is going to be a GREAT YEAR!!

While my body still feels exhausted, my mind has started moving  again, and it’s been asking “How did you get the flu when nobody in the family had it?”

Ok.  First confession – I did not get the flu shot.

 

I know. Next year.  I promise!  If you haven’t gotten the flu yet it’s not too late to get your flu shot. You might want to consider running to your doctor’s office or your local Walgreens or CVS.  Unfortunately the CDC is estimating this year’s vaccine is only about 10-30% effective, but that’s still far more helpful than my 0%.

I am usually very good about taking care of myself.  I go to bed at a decent time, eat well and am very active (although I admit not a regular exerciser) and I wash my hands often.  Certainly always before meals and when I get home from anywhere;)

However, the overwhelming schedule we all carry during the holiday season puts us at greater risk for infection.  Not to mention…

  • There are extra people living in our homes – kids (some with runny noses), parents, visiting friends (also with runny noses. LOL)
  • We have more meals to prepare so more trips to the grocery store – to touch that pristine cart handle (ugh!).
  • Marathon shopping trips, at indoor malls and stores (packed with people coughing and sneezing) to get all our holiday gifts for friends and family.
  • Late night wrapping.  I mean late…like early morning…you were there;)
  • Lots of work and family parties, with lots of new people to meet.
  • Shaking hands and hugging people who’ve traveled across the country (not to mention kids who may just have come home from a colleges with over 20,000 students – each.)
  • The list goes on…

It’s easy for Moms to forget about themselves at the holidays.  We’re so focused on getting everything done that sometimes we don’t remember the last time we had five minutes for the ladies room!

A few days before the flu hit I was running errands.  I’ll admit, I was probably a little too caffeinated  (Starbucks Pike’s Peak) to have been thinking clearly when I picked up those hard candies at the drug store. Um…drug store…sick people…walk in clinics…hmmm.   I unwrapped several pieces over a few hours and popped them into my mouth with my bare hands without even thinking about all the things I had touched – door handles, credit card screens and hanging pens, shopping carts…more…yuck.

So, its been 7 days since I first jumped aboard the flu train.  What started as a scratchy throat and a dry cough ended up including a lovely fever which left me feeling like I had been hit by a bus, for 48 hours, whenever the Tylenol Cold and Flu wore off.  (On a positive note -I did learn that you can take 2 TBSP of that delightful elixir every 4 hours, and not every 6, as I originally thought, but I digress.)

Now that I’m on the mend, and the experience is still fresh in my mind I thought it was a great time to write a post to remind myself, my kids, and anybody else out there willing to read this, about some of the things we can do every day, to at least try to avoid flu germs!

  1. Wash your hands before every meal – AND – before eating anything that requires you to touch it before you put it in your mouth – candy, gum, your retainer?
  2. Wash your hands every time you come back to the house from school or errands.  Even if you didn’t physically get out of the car – that steering wheel picks up a lot. (Have you wiped yours down lately? It’s worth five seconds.)
  3. Keep a small container of hand sanitizer in your purse or car for the times you can’t wash your hands.
  4. Get 8 hours of sleep if at all possible – even through the holidays.  Seems we all get sick a little more quickly when we are run down.
  5. Take an Emergen-c packet with 1000 milligrams of  Vitamin C once a week or when you feel a cold coming on.  Both my kids swear by it and keep a stash in their dorm rooms.
  6. Don’t forget to eat fruits and vegetables even when you’re busy.  Some of us will admit to a quick stop at a McDonalds or Chick-Fil-A drive through when we are pressed for time.  How about stopping at Chipotle for a veggie burrito bowl? Or a Panera for soup and salad instead? There are fast/faster food options that will give you a vitamin packed punch.
  7. Make some kind of soup with a chicken broth base during the busiest weeks of the holiday season – and after!  Chicken broth has been shown to shorten colds, even if doctors’ don’t understand exactly why.  The family might love a nice warm bowl of soup served with fresh french bread and cheese! Yum!
  8. Keep small packets of kleenex tissues in your purse along with some hand wipes.  Use them to open doors, especially if the person that touched that handle before you wiped their runny nose with their hand first.  (I got that tip from a nurse.)
  9. Consider taking a multivitamin during the holidays, or when you know you’re not taking care of yourself the way you should.  It’s not a perfect solution, but it can be helpful.
  10. It goes without saying…wipe down all surfaces in your house if you’ve had the flu.  Some of the areas we forget – light switches, TV remote controls, door handles, toilet handles, faucet handles.  Give everyone else a fighting chance to skip this party.

I will say, there’s nothing like feeling miserable with the flu, to make you appreciate feeling well on a normal day!  I think I studied that in college. Isn’t that “The Shadow Effect”?  My professor would be so impressed!

As we enter 2018 I’m feeling very grateful for my health, and for the health of my family and friends.  I am EXCITED for 2018!  We are blessed to be here, and I believe opportunities are all around us if we take the time to look for them.

I am toasting to your health today with some Tazo green tea!  Stay well friends!

XO

Kate

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