Osteoarthritis and Footwear: The Best Shoes for Joint Support and Comfort

Osteoarthritis and Footwear: The Best Shoes for Joint Support and Comfort Jul, 31 2023

Understanding Osteoarthritis and the Importance Of Proper Footwear

Let's kick things off by looking at this big phrase with a scary number of vowels: osteoarthritis. Don't let it intimidate you. Basically, osteoarthritis is a type of joint disease caused by wear and tear over a long time. It could be called the "overachiever's wear and tear," like that old '90 pair of jeans that just won't quit. But instead of denim, it's your cartilage gradually turning into something like a worn-out sponge. Yikes! Not the kind of transformation you aspire to, right?

Commonly affected areas are your hands, spine, hips and KNEES. Yes, the very things that connect your feet to the rest of your body. I cannot stress enough the importance of those unsung heroes, our knees, in keeping us mobile and upright. To put it in Aussie terms, knees are the pavlova in our Christmas lunch. Essential and always underestimated!

So, with osteoarthritis, your journey of managing the pain and staying mobile starts from the ground up - literally. It starts with understanding that your choices of footwear can make a world of difference. It can turn your walk in the park into either a painful grimace fest or a comfortable, sun-soaking experience. And I'm certainly betting you'd prefer the latter!

Stepping into Comfort: The Best Shoes for Osteoarthritis

Okay, now that we've zeroed in on the importance of shoes. What kind of shoes are we talking about? Well not the ruby slipper from The Wizard of Oz for sure. Since this isn’t a fairytale where one pair miraculously fits all. But let me guide you through some broad categories.

Pain, when dealing with osteoarthritis, can be as stubborn as a mule. And like dealing with stubbornness, comfort is key when choosing shoes. It had better be like stepping onto a cloud. In technical terms look for shoes with good cushioning which can absorb shock, thus reducing stress on your joints. Anatomically designed insoles are a bonus. They can provide arch and heel support reminiscent of your favourite Barcalounger-cum-throne.

Next, look deeply in the soul of the shoe, I mean sole. Here a sturdy and non-slip outsole is paramount. Because trust me, while a Charlie Chaplin-esque waddle might have its charm, it's not recommended for those of us dealing with osteoarthritis. And, there are many options available today, ranging from running shoes to specialised arthritis footwear. So don't worry, no one’s asking you to forsake style for comfort. We can have our pavlova and eat it too!

Exploring Must-have Shoe Features for Joint Support

Moving uphill now to some more specialised, but critical features. You would want your shoes to have a low and stable heel. The walk isn’t a catwalk, and you don't need to strut around in stilettos or heavy boots. Instead, opt for shoes with a table-top-like heel, as flat and even as possible. This provides extra stability and balance. Think Hobbit feet, sans the hair.

Another important tip to keep in mind is the closure system. Take a moment to appreciate and gravitate towards shoes with easy closures like Velcro, or slip-on designs. They add a charm to your daily routine, making shoes easier to put on and remove, and allowing for better adjustment to fit. Remember we're looking for comfort and support over style, though many shoe designs thankfully tick all the boxes.

If shoe shopping seems overwhelming, remember that podiatrists are your best friends in this journey. They can provide customised advice matching your specific needs. A fun fact to note here, podiatry originated in ancient Egypt and Babylon, way before the Sydney Harbour was even dreamt about. So it’s safe to say, these folks know a thing or two about feet!

The Impact of Proper Footwear on Daily Life

Changing shoes might seem simplistic, especially when dealing with a complex condition like osteoarthritis. But you'd be surprised how much of a difference it can make. You see, osteoarthritis has a habit of influencing every aspect of your daily life, from simple tasks like grocery shopping to leisure activities like playing with your grandkids, or in my case, trying to keep up with my huffy cat, Whiskers.

Once I switched to recommended footwear, the change was night and day. A simple act like going for a swim at Bondi beach, which previously felt like a trek in the Outback, suddenly regained its charm. And this is coming from someone who used to don everything from flip flops to boots, without giving it a second thought - comfort is king, my friends.

So, take that step towards proper footwear. It can provide relief, improve your mobility, and essentially improve your quality of life. It can be the difference between running on hot sand or walking smoothly over a carpet of eucalyptus leaves. And remember, in your fight against osteoarthritis, you’re as strong as a kangaroo going uphill, there is strength with every hop, just make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the journey.