Today i’m going to talk about shoes, specifically counters.
A counter will help you stabilize or maintain your heel in a safe range in the rolling from supination to pronation.
When your foot lands on the ground it starts on the outside and it rolls to the inside and springs off.
If it starts too far to the outside then it could cause twisting of the leg.
If it rolls too far to the inside then it could also cause twisting of the leg.
Neither one is good. Twisting of the leg is not good, especially when the average person takes 10,000 steps a day or 3.6 million steps per year.
What combats this is a group of muscles that I call ‘The Spring Suspension System Muscles.”
These muscles are located on the side of the foot going up. So when the foot lands on the ground these muscles gage the rolling and they don’t allow your foot to roll over too far they hold the foot from over rolling. (the tibialis posterior and the tibialis anterior muscles as well as the peroneal muscles) help to keep the foot in the center or in the safe range between supination and pronation.
You may have a weakness in those muscles due to:
- Not exercising the foot in different directions from the sides and only walking straight
- You might be carrying extra weight which will overload the spring suspension system
- Or you might not be exercising at all
Regardless, we can’t get those muscles strong enough in a week or two to reduce the pain from the twisting.
The counters in the shoes will help to keep that foot from rolling into the unsafe range.
Even if you have strong feet, if you are standing on your feet for long periods of time, fatigue will start to set in and the suspension system muscles will fatigue and drop and lock the spring.
When this happens the suspension muscles will commonly collapse in a predictable fashion inward over too far into pronated position.
The counter helps you from over rolling either way.
The counter should fit right against the heel with no distance between the heel and the counter. It should be snug. (see pic below)
This is the only area where it should be snug.
It should never be snug anywhere else like on the top of the shoe.
If there is too much room between the counter and the heel your foot, it can still roll and collapse because there is nothing holding it in.
Another thing to make note of is if you have an orthotic in the shoe that might be too wide then it might open up the counter and the counter can’t get a grip on the heel to be able to protect it from the over rolling and that would defeat the purpose.
If this is happening TAKE IT OUT.
The way you check the counter to make sure it is firm. Squeeze it like a piece of fruit. If it’s tough and stiff like a piece of plastic then that’s a good counter. Make sure it’s not too flimsy.
I encourage my patients to get good shoes to prevent this over rolling. This helps in the over all treatment to help those muscles get stronger.
Like I said before getting these muscles stronger can’t be done in a week and the counter support will help in the process.
One other thing to take notice is when your buying shoes you might see a footpad inside the shoe itself. That is good when your buying online to be able to use the foot pads to size the shoe better because everybody has a different size foot and thickness.
But You might want to take one or both out if you can because then you can sink your foot deeper into the counter to get a deeper support base.
Think of this example:
Digging a five foot hole for a flag pole or a seven foot hole for a flag pole.
When the wind hits it, it won’t come out of the ground if it’s deep enough into the ground.
Extended counter shoes are shoes that have an extended counter, which is actually better.
Shoes can be a useful tool if you have weakness. But unfortunately the weakness is caused from wearing shoes. They can be a problem yet they are a necessity.
So buying the right shoes with a good counter support can be very helpful in reducing over rolling of the foot