Serving as the perennial mode of transportation and the most popular form of exercise today, it’s a safe bet that walking will be an enduring past time around the world. Enthusiasts of current sporting trends may look down upon this simplistic mode of exercise, but we’ll see who’s worse for wear in 20 years. Though obvious that calorie expenditure is well below that of other forms of exercise, walking is probably the most body friendly, cheapest, and accessible form of recreation. Like any repetitive pattern however, there is the possibility for injury. This article will discuss the more common problems that arise with recreational walking.
The feet are a primary concern; poor shoes or an improper surface on which to walk may be problematic. First and foremost, get a good pair of shoes. Spending a lot of money on a highly advertised brand is not always a guarantee for satisfaction. Go where the runners go to buy their shoes. You will find a more knowledgeable salesperson, and there’s probably a good supply of walking shoes in stock. Bring along an old pair of shoes; the soles are the source of a great amount of information and can be of significant help in the buying process. And when those new shoes hit the ground for the first time, common sense prevails; the softer and flatter the surface, the better.
There are currently a number of good “off the shelf” orthotics available ranging from $20.00 to $40.00. Orthotics are shoe inserts that are designed to provide additional support to the long arch, as well as increased shock absorption for the foot Terms such as supination and pronation may also arise in the
The Lower Back
Another area of overuse is the lower back. A common symptom with walking is a diffuse, dull pain that seems to follow the belt line. The origin of this problem is frequently caused by a “sway back”, which is a functionally increased lordosis or inward curve of the lower back. This problem may be secondary to faulty posturing, tight muscles or degenerative change.
A potential remedy may include some of the following: “Walk tall” with increased tone in the buttock and abdominals. This will diminish the swayback somewhat, thereby diminishing the compression at the junction of the back and pelvis. Walk with your nose in front of your toes; as if heading into a strong wind. This will diminish the lordosis to some degree as well. Periodically stop and place one foot upon a park bench or lie down and bring knees toward the chest to stretch. Stretching the muscles in front of the hip may also be beneficial. This can be done in a single leg kneeling position with other foot placed about two feet in front. Keep the torso upright and move the hips forward until a mild stretch if felt in the front of the kneeling leg.
Minnesota Physical Therapy
All of our clinics provide customary physical therapy services with an emphasis placed on individualized hands-on care. Patients have access to comprehensive rehabilitation programs for orthopedic and neurologic injuries, a full range of modalities including ultrasound, electrical therapies for the reduction of pain and swelling, mechanical traction for the neck and back, custom orthotic fabrication, bracing for knees, wrists and ankles,
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