The Right Gait and the Right Shoe for Walking With Arthritis

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for people with arthritis. Find out how the right walking posture and the right walking shoe can ease your pain.

Walk This Way
The right walking form can prevent pain and injuries. “Many people slouch, which can strain the back and throw off their center of gravity,” says physical therapist Corey Feger.

  • Straighten up. Keep your head high and gaze forward. Your back should be straight and your shoulders should move naturally as you swing your arms.
  • Stabilize your core. To stand tall, gently tighten your stomach muscles as you walk. “Think about drawing your belly button inward,” Feger says.
  • Stride comfortably. As you step, roll your foot forward from heel to toe.

Put the Best Shoe Forward
It’s smart to invest in good walking shoes to help protect your ankles, knees and hips. “A good pair [of shoes] will help absorb some of the impact of each step,” says Louisville, Kentucky-based physical therapist Corey Feger. Look for a cushioned sole and arch support.

For the best fit, go to a specialty running or walking store. “A qualified salesperson will analyze your gait and match that with the best shoe,” says Feger. For example, people with flat feet need shoes with motion control for stability, while those with high arches fare better with more cushioning.

Shop later in the day or after a walk, when your feet are at their largest, and wear them around the house a few times to make sure they’re right for you before going outside for a walk in them.

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