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Stop Your Walking Posture From Hurting You

a man in a white shirt and blue and pink suspenders
By Babafemi Adebajo
Davor Štefanović - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Davor Štefanović

Published May 26, 2023.

A backshot of a woman balancing on a log in nature, showing good walking posture

Have you ever considered how your walking style might be affecting your health? The truth is, the way we walk, or our gait, plays a significant role in our overall well-being. An improper alignment of the body while walking, often referred to as poor walking posture, can lead to a myriad of health issues, including muscle imbalances, joint pain, and postural misalignment.

Identifying the Signs of Poor Walking Posture

Poor walking posture can be a result of various factors such as sedentary lifestyles, weak core muscles, improper footwear, or past injuries. Common signs include rounded shoulders, forward head position, uneven weight distribution, excessive arm swinging, and dragging or shuffling feet. If you're experiencing discomfort like lower back pain, knee pain, or foot pain while walking, it's time to take a closer look at your posture.

Did You Know?

Your walking speed can influence your posture. Walking too fast can cause you to lean forward, while walking too slowly can lead to slouching."

» Check out our selection of the best insoles for walking all day

Why Is Your Gait Important

Your gait, or the way you walk, is a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy walking posture. The gait cycle describes the cyclic pattern of movement that occurs during walking. It consists of two phases: the stance phase and the swing phase.

  • The stance phase constitutes approximately 60% of the total gait cycle. It begins when your foot first touches the ground and ends when the same foot leaves the ground.
  • The swing phase makes up around 40% of the gait cycle. It begins when the foot first leaves the ground and ends when the same foot touches the ground again.

A walking gait analysis can help identify any asymmetries or unique movements that may be causing discomfort. Addressing these issues promptly is essential to prevent them from worsening over time and leading to serious complications.

Improve Your Walking Posture

Ready to improve your walking posture? Here are some practical tips to help you achieve a more comfortable and healthier walking experience:

  • Choose the Right Footwear: Shoes with inadequate arch support can strain your knees, back, and neck. Opt for shoes with lower heels and a spacious toe-box for everyday wear. They help maintain neutral foot alignment and reduce discomfort.
  • Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine: Stability, strengthening, and core training exercises, along with specific physiotherapy exercises, can enhance your stability and correct posture. Strengthening exercises target the muscles of the legs, core, and back, enabling them to better support your body.
  • Consider Using Insoles: Insoles can correct abnormal walking patterns by aligning the feet in a normal position during standing, walking, or running. They also improve gait symmetry and provide additional support and cushioning.
  • Take smaller steps: A longer stride length can throw you off balance and affect your walking posture. Taking shorter, controlled steps allows for better balance and stability and reduces the impact on your joints.
  • Engage your arms: Proper arm movement is a part of good posture. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and allow your arms to swing naturally. This should coordinate with the opposite leg swing, helping to maintain balance and rhythm.

Quick Tip: Try to keep your head up and look forward while walking. This simple adjustment can help align your neck and spine, improving your walking posture.

» Is Morton's neuroma giving you trouble? Check out the exercises that can alleviate foot pain

The Path to Pain-Free Walking

Improving your walking posture is essential for maintaining overall musculoskeletal health. By making these changes, you can enhance your walking posture and reduce discomfort. Custom orthotics, such as those offered by Upstep, can provide an ideal way to ease pain while walking.

Don't let pain hinder your enjoyment and mobility. Take the first step towards pain-free walking and improved posture with Upstep's custom orthotics today!

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