News: Proper footwear contributes to health, mission readiness
Story by Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr
OKINAWA, Japan - Marines are known for their physical fitness, logging hundreds of miles on their feet to maintain combat readiness. This high state of readiness is not possible if injured.
In order to help prevent lower-extremity injuries, the Hansen House of Pain Gym at Camp Hansen played host to a shoe fitting where participants had their feet measured and were told the importance of wearing a properly-fitted shoe June 3.
“The first shoe fitting event was held during the ‘Body Maintenance EXPO’ in January 2010,” said Terumi Nagai-Luebbers, fitness coordinator for Camp Courtney Ironworks Gym.
Understanding the importance of the proper running shoe, Nagai-Luebbers took notice of the Marines who frequented her office.
“I am an endurance athlete, and I know what kind of things athletes need to pay attention to; shoes are high priority,” Nagai-Luebbers said.
“Many Marines visited my office with tennis shoes or basketball shoes for running, or had running shoes that were totally worn out,” added Nagai-Luebbers.
Chronic injury, such as shin splints and back problems, can occur from wearing inappropriate shoes for running, added Nagai-Luebbers.
“If you get injured at one point you start to compensate with other parts of your body,” said Nagai-Luebbers. “If you have a right ankle problem, you try to cover with your left knee, and then you try to compensate that problem with your right hip.”
The problem will progressively worsen, Nagai-Luebbers added.
Nagai-Luebbers contacted a shoe company through her running team and created the event.
The shoe fitting process begins with a diagnostic machine, resembling a weight scale, that participants stand on and have their feet electronically measured.
This machine is designed to measure length and width of a person’s feet and project the distribution of body weight during running, standing and walking and displays it on the screen.
“We scan the feet twice,” said Nagai-Luebbers. “The first scan is to measure the length [and width] of the foot.”
The first scan reads off an exact measurement of the length and width of each foot down to the centimeter.
The second scan measures pressure distribution on each foot, Nagai-Luebbers said.
It allows the person to know exactly how they disperse their weight when standing and running, from which heel takes the brunt of weight to which toes have more contact with the ground, added Nagai-Luebbers.
Most people do not realize the importance of proper weight distribution when running, said Nagai-Luebbers. If enough weight is not placed evenly on the toes, it can affect comfort and running speed because the runner cannot get strong push off the ground.
Once the scans had been analyzed, each customer was fitted with the proper running shoe to compliment their natural running gait.
Each runner needs a specific type of shoe, said Nagai-Luebbers. Flat-footed runners need stabilizing shoes and those with higher arches need more of a cushion.
Paying attention to the needs of the feet and not the color, design or brand name of the shoes will ensure you stay injury-free, added Nagai-Luebbers. One additional key is to change your running shoes either every 300 miles or six months, whichever comes sooner.
The participants took away a good amount of information and were made aware of how to employ it.
“It gave me a good idea of what type of shoes I should get, as opposed to what I usually wear,” said Clifford Yee, a participant in the shoe fitting.
Future shoe fittings are scheduled at Camp Foster July 16, which will be tailored for children, Camp Kinser Sept. 17 and again on Camp Foster Oct. 8 at each camp’s main gym.