Are You Walking Properly?

February 10, 2017 • • foot care

Have you ever thought about the way that you walk? For most of us, it’s something we never think about – we just do it. It’s one of the first major steps we have to take in life, and as long as we don’t fall while doing it, we feel like we’ve perfected it.

What you may not know is that there is a proper way to walk. The next time to get up to grab some water or go to the bathroom, pay attention to your walking habits. How is your posture? Do you walk on your tip toes or do you have loud footsteps? Which direction are your knees pointing and do your ankles tend to roll in or outward? Your gait can determine how your body fares long-term, with possible negative outcomes including pain from the tips of your toes, all the way up to your back, neck, and shoulders.

What should you pay attention to when you walk? The following guidelines can help you improve your walking habits to prevent issues in the future:

Foot Strike: A proper foot strike has your foot starting with your heel landing on the floor, then rolling onto the balls of your feet, and finally shifting the weight onto the toes as the other foot begins to step. Some people may have issues with in-toeing or out-toeing, where the feet bear weight mostly on the inner or outer parts of the feet, instead of evenly on the whole foot. Others may have grown accustomed to a flat foot strike, where the whole foot slaps the ground with each step (and may look like they waddle). Dragging the feet also indicates an improper foot strike.

Gait and Foot Direction: Related to foot strike, a proper gait includes your feet pointing in the forward direction and the ankles in a neutral position instead of rolling inward or outward. Any V-ing of the feet can cause problems with strained muscles and tissues as well as bone development.

Posture: When standing or walking, it is best to try to be as tall as you can, without too much strain. Neck should be in neutral position, shoulders rolled back, chest out front, midsection (abs) engaged, and feet staying or moving within hip’s distance. Hunching over not only doesn’t look very nice, but it can also become a habit that leaves you with a curved back when you’re older. Again, feet should not be waddling outward, as this can cause alignment issues.

Try correcting your foot strike, gait, and posture the next time you walk. Practicing it barefoot will reveal where you might be forming bad habits. Some issues occur because of deformities or developmental issues, so it may require attention from a podiatrist. If you have concerns about your feet or ankles while walking, make an appointment to see one of our board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Douglas H. Richie, Dr. Jeremy L. Cook, Dr. Faye E. Izadi. Our team at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group is more than happy to welcome you and help you with your foot and ankle care needs at our Seal Beach, CA and Los Alamitos, CA offices in Orange County!

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