Summer is officially here! Most of us have already donned summer footwear.

Are your knees hurting all of a sudden, usually on the inside of the knee, after having done the same movements for many months in the gym?

What is different now as opposed to a few months ago? Your knees didn’t hurt before, you didn’t change anything. What changed? It could be your summer footwear choice!

Are you now wearing flip flops? Or maybe sandals many hours a day, running around outside doing fun summer activities? The weather has been amazing and who can’t wait to break free of confining close-toed shoes!?

I love cute sandals or flip flops or my Chacos when the weather is warm enough not to have socks on. However after a few hours in any of these pairs, my feet are not having nearly as much fun.

Your feet and shoes are your foundation. Is this foundation providing you with the right support?  In other words, if your knees are hurting, take a look at your foundation, at your shoes or lack of shoes.  

If you don’t have a sound foundation, anything above the foundation is compromised. In the case of feet, that is your ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, spine, and neck. The compromise often manifests itself in the form of foot pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, back pain or a combination of several.

Our coaches at Progressive Performance can give you corrective exercises that may help relieve the pain related to the lack of foot support but if you don’t take measures to give your feet a supportive foundation, those exercises may only work temporarily.

Throwing on any pair of athletic shoes, no matter how cool they look, may not help either.

The last time you bought athletic shoes to build that foundation, did you go to the nearest shoe store and pick a pair of shoes you liked and tried them on for a second in the store and think that was adequate but you still hurt?


It is ABSOLUTELY worth the time and every penny to go to a store that watches you walk and/or run in your shoes, that asks you what activities you will do in the shoes, they even like when you bring in your old shoes so they can see the wear-pattern on the bottom.

Also, if you are active outside, a runner, walker, hiker, etc. make sure your shoes or boots are appropriate for the activity.  Runners and high intensity, frequent walkers also should have a specific shoe only used for that activity. These shoes should be replaced every 300 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first.  The supportive structures of the shoes break down over time whether the activity is high intensity or not, no matter how often the shoes are worn.

Our feet change throughout our lives due to age, gravity, genetics, weight, injuries, etc. So even if you were fitted a couple of years ago and have bought the same shoes every 300 miles, it is a good idea to have another fitting every 2 or 3 pairs of athletic shoes. If your shoes still need more support, you may look at inserts to add a little more support.  A knowledgeable salesperson can direct you on the many different brands and levels of support. The absolute best option is to have orthotics made for your feet, however this is usually very pricey and not always covered by medical insurance; sometimes it may be covered so it is worth a phone call.

So if you have foot or heel or knee pain after a weekend of fun in your flip flops, sandals, or bare feet, spend a few days in your athletic shoes and see if the pain goes away. Let a coach know as well. Even though the root of the issue isn’t squatting or lunging or deadlifts, we may want to adjust your workout.

Tory has listed below local stores that will take the time to fit your shoes. Or, if you are having knee, hip, or ankle pain all of a sudden, talk to a coach. It may be your shoes or even the transition to new shoes. We can provide some insight, or suggest changes in your warm-up or workouts or refer you to the appropriate specialist as well.

Local stores that provide an individual fitting service:

Run 26 (Mill Creek)

Everyday Athlete (Kirkland)

RoadRunner Sports (locations in Bellevue and Greenlake)

Super Jock-n-Jill (locations in Redmond and Greenlake)

There is also a Brooks Running Outlet in Bothell (near Safeway – south of Country Village). They will fit you but the service isn’t as personal.

If you are looking to return to running or start running ask Tory for a plan that will get you started and help to avoid injury.

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