This standing advice is an integral and essential part of the recovery process. It is also useful for all people of any age, so please share with your family, friends, and colleagues.
The overall idea of the advice is to help keep your head, and spine close to the neutral position most of your day, so your spine is not bending, twisting or arching.
The correct shoes will let you stand upright and still with next to no effort. You will not slouch or wobble. This relaxed, upright posture is a requirement of the unwinding process. It is achieved by using your shoes to counter the imbalance in your body structure.
Not following the advice, by wearing bad shoes will at best, slow the overall recovery time. And at worst, pull/push bones out of place again; halting recovery.
So here we go…
The Best Shoes For Posture and Unwinding.
Firstly, barefoot is best. So free your feet as often as possible. Slowly increase the time you can manage without shoes to get your feet used to it. The best shoe mimics this barefoot experience.
A barefoot shoe looks like this. They have a flat insole, wide toe box, and flexible sole. They are not meant to be tight, so make sure there is lots of room inside and keep your laces loose.
Barefoot shoes come in many different designs based on this concept. Please check your choice of shoes with your practitioner before purchasing. Barefoot sandals are also a great option! You can also get barefoot hiking boots and barefoot trainers. (Although take care transitioning to barefoot shoe running.)
There are lots of brands to choose from including: Vivo Barefoot, Xero Shoes, Freet, Luna Sandals, Be Lenka and more…
You will need to investigate and see which brand and type suits your needs best.
Flip flops are also fine, but discard them when the heel area becomes deformed/sunken in.
A flat sole is great but some people will benefit from a small heel to tip the ankle forwards. This can improve balance, breathing, and posture whilst reducing muscle and nerve tension. Your practitioner can add heel lifts and chips to your flat shoes to accomplish this. They may also add a small dot sticker to the shoe on your breakdown side. This further improves your body’s mechanics.
The exact heel height is different for everybody and needs to be found by testing your posture when standing. You can test by breathing out, relaxing and letting your body go. When you get it right, you will remain upright, not fall backward or forward and feel loose. Your breathing should be easy and full.
If your shoe has a heel, less than an inch is usually enough. Any more and your body may suffer. A high heel is also difficult to balance on and will change the way you walk. This stresses your feet and ankles and also increases the risk of a sprain.
Shoes that are too tight will put stress on your ankle and other joints higher up the body. They also negatively affect your breathing, circulation, balance, and co-ordination. Over time, they also reduce the bone strength in the foot and can lead to bunions.
Shoes that have a soft sole like Sketchers memory foam, rubber crocs, Birkenstocks, or worn out flip flops, will make your heel sink down, tilting the foot backward. This will negatively affect your balance and hyperextend your knees, pulling on the back of your legs and forcing your body to lean forward to counter-balance. This is a bad situation to put yourself into, and will force bones out of place to compensate; slowing recovery and causing unnecessary symptoms.
With the correct shoe, you do not need to pull your belly in, tilt your pelvis, pull your shoulders back or push your chest out. Just relax. If you are getting treated properly and have the correct shoes, you will stay upright with no effort.
If you regularly find yourself crossing your hands in front or behind, putting them in your pockets, or leaning on something to stabilize yourself, it is likely that your shoes are not supporting you properly.
Standing desks can be better than sitting desks but you still need good shoes.
This advice applies to all your footwear. Including trainers, formal shoes, slippers, sandals, flip flops and more!
Toddlers and children need similar shoes. In fact, it is even more important for them as their bodies are still developing. Bad shoes make it harder for them to balance and co-ordinate. Also, keep them out of shoes as much as possible. Barefoot shoes are also available in children’s sizes.
By the way, even tight socks affect everybody’s posture so make sure your socks are also loose-fitting.
This advice will help you to make the most of your unwinding recovery and help you to be your best!