If you find yourself experiencing pain or soreness in your muscles or joints after a walk, maybe you should take a closer look at your gait. You gait refers to the way you move, particularly your stride and the way your feet make contact the ground. One of the most common gait issues is instability of the ankle joint, resulting in an inward or outward tilt of the ankle.
If your ankle rolls in or out as you step it puts strain on the ankle joint, which in turn places stress on the knee. If your ankle tilts in toward the center line of the body when standing, this is referred to as pronation. If it tilts out, it is referred to as supination. Looking at the wear pattern on the bottom of your shoe can often reveal this issue. Is your shoe overly worn along the inside or outside edge? If so you could be pronating or supinating when you walk.
In some cases this stress caused by an instable ankle is severe enough that it can even travel up to the hip or spine. Because the body compensates for this off balance motion, muscles and joints can be tight or sore after a walk. If this is a persistent problem corrective action could be needed. For mild cases an over the counter orthotic can be used, but in severe cases a specialized shoe may be required for the proper support.
The most important walking accessories are the ones that make your walk more enjoyable. Whether it’s a new pedometer or a pair of orthotics, you should always be well prepared for a walk.