Your shoe laces could be the hidden culprit behind the aches and pains you suffer during and after exercise. If you have already checked that your shoes and socks are in order, turn your attention to those innocent-looking laces. Choosing the right laces and tying them correctly will help you to avoid damage to vulnerable areas such as your knees and back by enhancing the support provided by your shoes.
Style Over Substance
Manufacturers often choose shoelaces which meet fashion trends or come from stock lengths rather than ones which provide appropriate comfort. If the laces supplied with your shoes are excessively long, buy a new pair that can be threaded through the eyelets and tied without dragging on the ground. Choose soft, flat shoelaces which are less likely to irritate pressure points.
Even the best shoes cannot cater for all foot shapes. However, you can use your laces to compensate for any shortcomings in fit and reduce your chances of injury. Here are a few common problems and lacing techniques to assist.
Narrow heel: If you have this problem, your feet move around whilst exercising. When you first put on your shoe, push your heel right to the back, then use the lace lock method. Lace your shoe as normal, but leave the last eyelets empty. Thread one end of the lace through the last empty eyelet on the same side to make a loop. Do the same with the other side. Take the laces across diagonally to each loop and tighten.
High Instep: Blisters can occur if your instep is rubbing against the top of your shoe. This can result in changes to your posture as you compensate for the pain. Volume lacing will leave more room for movement. Lace as normal for the first two eyelets, then lace the central eyelets on the same side. The last two eyelets should be laced in the usual diagonal manner.
Squashed Toes: If your toes feel restricted, using two shoelaces will help reduce pressure. Start one shoelace from the bottom and lace normally till you reach the middle. Tie a knot and bow. Begin with your second lace at the top of the eyelets, finishing with a knot and bow in the middle.
It is important to remember that your feet swell during exercise. Retie your laces if you feel irritation or discomfort. If you need help figuring out the best fit and lace-tying technique to help your feet remain pain-free, a physiotherapist from a clinic like Pro-Fit Physio & Allied Health Centre should be able to help you figure out why you feel the pain you do.
Your Mother Was Right
Always untie and retie your laces. Slipping your feet out of shoes without undoing the laces will destroy the heel counter which holds your shoe in place. This means that you are more likely to be injured without proper support and your hip pocket will suffer as your shoes will wear out quickly.
You know that correct footwear is vital to ensure the whole body is protected during exercise. Make sure that your shoelaces and tying techniques aren't letting you down.