There are so many activities we do during the day that can ultimately cause knee and joint problems. Sports and accidental injuries are common ways for knee injuries to occur, but another factor that those in sports medicine are finding, is that the kind of shoes we wear can also put us at risk for pain.
Shoes are items we wear everyday starting at a young age. We put them on babies to keep their feet warm, plus it’s just adorable to see a 9 month old wearing Nikes. We buy the Barbie and Superman shoes for our preschoolers and elementary-aged children, and eventually we move on to buying shoes that are good for us.
We can find all kinds of shoes we wear for fashion, athletics, work, different weather, and for lazing around the house, some comfortable, some not, but what makes a good shoe, and who determines what goes into one?
Good shoes that are designed to keep knee problems at bay will have arch and heel support. Shoes that are flat with no arches, or shoes with high heels put pressure on your feet, knees, and back. This can cause the wearer to compensate for the lack of support with their knees, back, and hips, which can ultimately through the body out of alignment. This will cause knee pain which will continue as long as the wrong shoes are being worn.
Good, supportive shoes are not made by accident. There are many teams of scientists and doctors that specialize in biomechanics give input to shoe manufacturers to make better shoes with better support. Biomechanics is the study of the structures and functions of living things. Sports biomechanics is based specifically on studying different types of sports, and how the activities affect the functions of the body.
Stacy Steffen, a biomechanist, is one such person who works hard to study the body in order to design a shoe that will keep orthopedists at bay. In an interview with New York Times reporter Patricia R. Olsen, Steffen discusses what goes into making great shoes. Steffen works at Brooks Running Company in Seattle and has studies body mechanics, physiology, and how people walk and run. In her company, they run tests on runners using a specialized treadmill that has the ability to calculate the amount of pressure runners put on the ground and their feet. They also have a running track to observe and record data on runners.
The team uses reflective markers on different points of the subject’s body and film them running. They then evaluate the motions of the body, and use the data they find to make better shoe designs. They also seek and use input from the runners themselves on what feels and fits better, and what they are looking for in a shoe. Steffen suggests that if your shoes and activity levels feel good and you are not causing injury to yourself, you’re on the right track.
If you are having pain, contact our sports medicine specialists for an evaluation today at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego.