Filed under: Footwear
An ankle sprain involves damage to elastic structures in the body called ligaments. When a joint such as the ankle goes beyond its normal range of motion, ligaments are stretched beyond their limits and tearing of the fibers can occur. In military populations, ankle sprains are very common and affect operational readiness. In fact, ankle sprains are more common in the military than in civilian populations, and women are more likely than men to sustain this type of injury. Stretching and strengthening the muscles of the foot and ankle can help you prevent and recover from ankle sprains. WebMD has lots of ideas on how to prevent injuries, covering footwear, exercises, and more. The Foot and Ankle Conditioning Program from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons focuses on recovering from injury but includes well-illustrated exercises that are good for preventive conditioning too.
Hiking is a great form of exercise and a great way to get outdoors and enjoy some scenery—especially when getting ready for deployment to challenging terrain. If the weather outside is less than ideal, however, or the winter temperatures become too frigid, you may need to move your hiking indoors to a treadmill. Keep in mind that you might not be working as hard on a treadmill as you would be hiking outside at your regular pace. Hiking requires different, often heavier footwear and involves a more diverse, varied terrain, both of which require more energy than walking in sneakers on a treadmill. If you want the same benefits, your treadmill needs to be set to at least a 3% incline for any speed up to 3.1 miles per hour to be comparable to what you expend hiking outside. You can still train for that mountain trek in bad weather—you’ll just need to make some slight adjustments. Happy trails…or treadmilling!
If you have ever bought a pair of toning shoes, you probably noticed you haven’t developed a Kardashian-curved derrière or a Brook Burke body just from walking around in them. You’re not alone. Recent developments have brought toning shoes back into the spotlight for the media and scientific communities. An independent study by the American Council on Exercise found that these kinds of toning shoes do not increase muscle activation or caloric expenditure compared to regular athletic shoes. However, a positive outcome may be that these shoes have motivated people to get out and walk, a physical activity that has many health benefits—without special shoes! Caveat emptor!
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons defines a stress fracture as a tiny crack in a bone that occurs when fatigued muscles lose their ability to absorb shock and then transfer stresses to the bone. Most stress fractures occur in the lower extremities, and more than half occur in the lower leg and foot.
A stress fracture is an overuse—sometimes referred to as chronic—injury, which means that it develops over a long period of time—from weeks to months. According to a 2011 systematic review published in Military Medicine, stress fracture incidence is high among U.S. military recruits, ranging anywhere from 3% for men to 9.2% for women.
Since it can take several weeks or months for a stress fracture to heal, the best approach is to avoid getting one. Here are some tips for prevention:
- Apply the progression principle of training—gradually increase your training intensity. Slowly incorporate higher-stress activities such as jumping and interval training into your workout. Setting incremental goals can be helpful in carrying out your training routine in a gradual way. And check out HPRC’s Physical Fitness Resources for more information on training and ways to avoid injury.
- Check your footwear and make sure it matches your training. Replace footwear that is old or worn.
- Pay attention to the surface where you train, since some are easier on the bones and joints of the lower extremities. For example, it is better to jog on softer surfaces such as rubber track or grass rather than on concrete. Also, it’s better to begin training on a flat surface and then progress to hills.
- Monitor your diet, specifically calcium and vitamin D intake, and read the National Institute of Health’s Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet on calcium. To learn more about nutrition take a look at HPRC’s Nutrition Resources.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), your sneakers are ready to be replaced after three to six months of regular use, or approximately 350 to 500 miles of running. Looking at the wear patterns can provide good indicators that your sneakers need to be replaced.
When the time comes to replace your sneakers, ACE has specific suggestions to help you find the perfect, and affordable, pair. They suggest that you buy sport specific shoes, test for stability, try on shoes at the end of the day when feet are their largest, and allow room for socks. Although some sports scientists will advise you to consider your foot type when purchasing sneakers, there is conflicting scientific evidence on this recommendation.
Your feet are so important – they work hard to get you from place to place! You walk, jog, run, cycle, and swim with your feet, so take good care of them. Easy tips include wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly, shopping in the daytime for shoes when your feet are more swollen than in the morning, walking to exercise your feet, wearing well-fitting stocking and pantyhose, and seeing a podiatrist to deal with corns or calluses.
Source: HealthDay News
Vibram’s line of FiveFingers shoes, or VFFs (also known as toe shoes), has become the most controversial item in military running. Army officials have banned them from the PT test over worries they might give some soldiers an unfair advantage. The Navy has also nixed them while Air Force and Marine Corps leaders have given the OK for them to be used. A recent article in Army Times.com take a closer look at the toe shoe controversy and provides current policy stands for the service branches.
Recent research challenges the notion that flat-footed runners need motion-control shoes while high-arched runners need well-cushioned ones. In a recent military study, assigning shoes based on the shape of the arch of one’s foot did little to prevent juries. Previous studies by scientists in Canada and Australia found similar results. When you go to the footwear store on your next visit, listen to what your feet tell you. Choose a pair that fits and feels right!