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Heel Fix Kit ® Insoles

"I have been using HeelFixKit insoles for over a year now. I have several pairs to go into various pairs of shoes and have found they give me invaluable foot support. They have certainly alleviated much of the tension and strain I was suffering from. Without HeelFixKit insoles I would not be able to do the amount of walking that I can now."

Mr R Murray, Rochdale


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Wearing Trail Shoes in the Summer

Moving to trail shoes, from the security of the high winter boot can offer the odd challenge to your musculoskeletal system. For example, all winter long with those supportive boots holding your foot to your leg, stable your ankle has been very nicely protected from all but the most severe instability events, like ankle sprains. Now you’re going to need more muscle strength, because although trail shoes are nice and light, they are going to offer you less protection.

 

There are a few very simple exercises and approaches that can help to prepare you for the swap over to the lighter shoes (and hopefully to better weather).

      For the first trail shoe walk of the year, try cutting down the mileage from your usual walk. Generally we recommend 60% of your normal distance for the first walk, and 80% on the second walk. If you aren’t suffering in anyway, then the third times the charm and you can now get back to your normal distances. If you had a discomfort or pain at the 80% distance, either drop back to 60% for a few more trips or stick to 80% distance until you can do that distance without ill effect.

      Now the evenings are lighter, get in a few short fast walks locally in either a pair of trainers or your trail shoes. Try these short walks at least 10% quicker than you’d normally walk. This should help build up your calf strength which can drop off a little with the heel height of a lot of sturdy walking boots.

      Eccentric calf exercises help to strengthen and increase the flexibility of your calf muscles. The slighter frame of the trail shoe often means your ankle will be asked to do greater extension and flexion as you walk. This simple exercise has been shown to be very beneficial and helps protect from heel pain, Achilles tendon pain and calf strains.  Stand on the bottom step of your stairs, with the front of your feet on the step and the heels hanging off. If around 45% of your foot is on the step you’ve got it about right. Now gently lower your heels down off the step until you feel a pull in one or both calf muscles. Hold this position for two seconds; now rise up on to your toes very slowly. Try and keep a little more weight towards the base of the big toe. Hold for two seconds. Now slowly lower your heels back below the step again and hold for two seconds. Repeat this ten times, or until you feel you’ve had enough, be that a few less or a few more. Best to do this exercise with your shoes on.

      Heel raise exercises also help to strengthen you calf muscles but also help strength the peroneal muscles that help to protect you from ankle sprains when the ground gets uneven. You may need to support yourself for this exercise by placing a hand on a wall, but if you can do it free standing even better. Rise up on to the balls of your feet by lifting your heels off the ground. Keep the weight slightly towards the base of your big toes. Hold for two seconds. Then lower back towards the ground; but don’t let your heels actually touch the ground. Hold for two seconds. Repeat ten times or until you can feel your calf muscles have had enough, be that a few less or a few more. This exercise can be done shod or unshod, although unshod is a little harder to do.

     Strengthen you plantarflexor muscles in your feet. Because hiking boots tend have a convex outer surface in the toe area, the boot does a lot of the work that your toes need to do as you walk. Most trail shoes don’t give you this protection, so you’ll need to get your toes bending more. Unprepared, this can cause injury to the balls of your feet, known as metatarsalgia, This is actually a number of different conditions which can include metatarsal Morton’s neuralgia, to ligament injuries under the toe joints. They can be helped and often avoided by just simple exercises.  You’ll need to do this barefoot and sat down. Find a soft ball a little smaller than a tennis ball. Place the ball under your toes, and keeping the toes on the ball, push your heel and forefoot towards the floor. Ideally the forefoot should touch the floor, but you might not be able to achieve this; at least at first. Now raise your heel off the floor, and as you continue to raise your heel, roll your foot over the top of the ball trying to grip down with your toes, so that the toes stay in contact with the ball. Now slowly roll back, and bring your heel to the floor first then the forefoot to the floor again. Repeat 15 times. Now try to grip the ball with your toes as if to pick it up. Don’t worry if you can’t, it is the trying that matters. Do this for 5 minutes or until you have had enough. Repeat on the other foot. This is a great exercise after a tiring day on your feet whatever the activity! The perfect ball is the Healthystep Foot Therapy Ball