3 Common Walking Mistakes (and How To Fix Them)

Walking is great exercise--as long as your form isn't hurting your feet!So many people see walking as an injury-free alternative to running: all of the benefits, none of the risks…right? Unfortunately, no—it’s actually wrong. If you’re guilty of any of these walking mistakes, you’re likely on the path to foot pain or more serious issues. Read on to see if you’re making mistakes and to get on the path to pain-free walking.

WIDE STRIDES

Many people step out farther than necessary to pick up their walking pace, but over-striding throws off natural rhythms, leading to a straighter knee and harder heel strike. All of that adds up to extra pressure on the feet.

Quick Fix: Take shorter, quicker steps. Roll through your step by pushing off strongly from the back foot.

GETTING SLAP HAPPY

Unlike slapstick comedy, “foot slap” is no laughing matter. Caused by muscle weakness of the anterior tibial muscle or perineal muscles, this is a condition in which the foot literally slaps the ground while walking instead of beginning with a a heel strike, followed by a smooth roll to lower the foot to the ground.

Quick FixSee your doctor to rule out a compressed nerve or ruptured disk. If cleared, avoid crossing your legs while sitting in order to prevent disruption of the perineal nerve, and practice walking with proper form. 

PRO-Or-SUPINATION PROBLEMS

Pronation, in which the outside edge of the foot and heel hits the ground before the inside edge, is normal—in moderation. Overpronation, however, can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the foot.

Similarly, supination, in which the weight of the body rolls onto the outer edges of the feet, also causes issues with alignment, leading to pain in the ankle and the outside of the leg.

Quick FixChoose shoes with arch support and shock absorption, and get rid of old and worn out sneaks. Your podiatrist can also analyze your gait and work on corrections for the issue.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.