You have most likely heard the hype on Toning shoes, the odd shaped shoes that supposedly help to tone your legs and buttocks while simply walking.† What could be better, right? The marketing of the shoes is extensive, but the use of the shoes may heed caution.† The shoes are designed with a negative heel, meaning the heel of the shoe is lower than the toe.† This position forces the foot to rock forward with each step, stretching the Achilles tendon.† It challenges your body to maintain balance and posture, while using new muscle groups that are usually not utilized in normal walking shoes. The unfamiliar walking pattern creates an altered gait, one that is unnatural to the human body.
So, are toning shoes for everyone? Perhaps not.† Toning shoes may be better equipped for young, fit individuals, but even then some doctors are suggesting that the shoes can be dangerous.† The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter stated in a release that the shoes “may alter the biomechanics of your normal gait and your stride making it hard for you to switch back to your regular shoes.” The shoes redistribute your weight and can add extra stress to areas that already carry a burden, such as the weight bearing joints.† These particular joints are the most susceptible joints for Osteoarthritis.† Podiatrists are warning older individuals, and those with arthritis, that toning shoes can cause an increase in falls and injuries, and aggravate arthritis related pain.†
If you have arthritis, you may want to stick to normal, well supported walking shoes.† You can also walk barefoot more often around your house, which aids in strength and flexibility.† You should continue with low impact exercises, like walking, but with proper, well researched equipment.† Taking a daily Glucosamine supplement, eating a nutritious diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy body weight can improve arthritis symptoms.