How a Pedorthist can help overcome running injuries

Running is a great form of exercise here in Nova Scotia. Besides the proven benefits to our mental and physical health, running is popular because you can run almost anywhere at any time. In addition, all you need is a pair of running shoes. What could go wrong?

Running footwear is a vital piece of equipment and will play a big role in injury prevention and the longevity of your running career. Whether you are a casual runner or a seasoned marathoner, it is important to wear footwear that compliments your mechanics, foot type, and even the terrain you are running on.

A Pedorthist can help you find the perfect footwear; this is achieved by performing an assessment of your biomechanics, posture, and foot anatomy. Below are a few tips for picking footwear based on your foot type.

Arch Type and Footwear

Identifying your arch type is an important part of a Pedorthic assessment; There are three main arch types: high (pes cavus), low (pes planus), and a normal arch.

High Arches: In general, high arched feet have stiff joints that lack the proper range of motion required for optimal running gait. As a result, this foot type does not absorb shock well and can lead to impact-related injuries. Examples of impact-related injuries can be the pain of the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia) or shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome).

Footwear with a high-quality cushion is recommended for running, particularly if running on hard surfaces such as pavement. In addition to footwear, a Pedorthist may recommend over-the-counter insoles or custom foot orthotics – this is an effective method to redistribute pressures on the foot.

Low Arches: In general, low arched feet have hyper-mobile joints, in other words, there is too much laxity and movement of the joints of the foot. This foot type tends to be associated with over-pronation; this is the inward rolling in of the ankle coupled with the collapse of the arch. Common conditions related to over-pronation include heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and knee pain (patellofemoral syndrome or runner’s knee).

For this foot type, a Pedorthist may recommend stable footwear, which is designed to reduce the amount of pronation during midstance. Over-the-counter insoles or custom foot orthotics are commonly recommended to control these mechanics.

Normal Arch: In terms of arch types, this is where most of the population falls. Now just because you fall within normal limits does not mean you can skimp out on footwear. It is still highly recommended that one be fit properly for both length and width. Most commonly, a stable neutral fitting shoe is recommended. Neutral shoes come in a variety of cushion levels and oftentimes depend on the preference of the runner.

In Conclusion

It is important to note that these tips are general and not intended for medical advice. As always, it is advised to see your family doctor or local pedorthist if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort while running. In-person shoe fitting will always give you the best results – so don’t hesitate to drop by Soles In Motion in Dartmouth, NS to get professionally fitted to keep you running injury free!

2022 – Every day is what we make it!

No matter what is going on around us the seasons are still coming.  In this time of social distancing and limited contact, it is important to get moving and if possible get outside Walking clears your head and helps your creative side and most importantly improves your mental health.  However, be prepared – winter is here and with it comes slips and falls.  Falls with or without injury carry a heavy impact on your quality of life.  The most profound effect of falling is the loss of confidence and/or independent living.  Therefore, people may stop doing things that have kept them active.  However, staying active needs to overcome your fear of falling.

Move and strengthen – Many falls are caused by muscle weakness. Exercise is very important.  If you don’t want to participate in a group setting then do it at home.  I met a man that had lost a lot of muscle in his upper legs quickly.  After talking to him, we discovered that after moving from his home to an apartment he no longer did stairs multiple times a day or general outdoor activity.  Although a small thing to some, he was doing very little in his new home to keep those muscles strong.

Stabilize your feet – Whether inside or out – if you are unstable consider your shoes; high heels, floppy slippers, slick soles can make you feel unstable and make you stumble and fall.  Sensible shoes and/or orthotics will not only make you more stable but may also reduce joint pain.  Make sure you have boots with good traction if you are going outside; otherwise, it is like driving with bald tires!

Stabilize your Knees – Unfortunately, as time goes by your knee joints are the first joints to wear and you may have osteoarthritis or kneecap pain. This causes instability and weakness leading to falling.  Consider a knee brace that will help with the redistribution of forces away from the area of degeneration.

At Soles in Motion, we want to make you happy and pain-free from the feet up.  Did you know we have two Canadian Certified Pedorthists, Graham and J, as well as, Jen and Chris, Bracing Specialists, who would love to see you?  There is no charge for our appointments and we will educate you on how we can help.  We will also introduce you to Albert, our 3D scanner, who will tell you all about your feet and measure your feet to make sure you get the proper shoes.  Drop in or give us a call at 902-468-7911

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Owner, Bracing Specialist

The Customer Experience! You deserve it!

When you walk into a store, somewhere in your mind you are looking for something.  It may not be in the front of your mind but it is there or why would you be there.  The deciding factor will be the experience.   The ultimate customer experience is when you feel welcome, not pressured, but not ignored.

At Soles in Motion, customers come to us for attention, knowledge and specialized service.  We are good listeners and want to take time to identify your needs by asking questions and getting to know you.   Customers don’t just buy products or services; they buy good feelings and want to be part of our community.

Our Soles in Motion Staff love what they do and look for ways to make doing business with us easy.  If you are looking for footwear, we measure your feet, both on our educating scan system and with the Brannock device.  We will also watch your gait (the way you walk) so we can bring out the best footwear suited to your feet. And we love good-looking shoes so we strive to dress up your feet to be noticed, whether it is for running, walking, or shopping!  You deserve the best service no matter where you go but at Soles in Motion, we guarantee it!


Visit and spend time with us and enjoy – selecting shoes is an experience that will put you in a better mood this spring.  Seeing all the bright colors and new styles will brighten your day.  Did you know we carry over 200 styles and colors this spring!  It is our largest selection ever!

Nothing will make you feel better than coming into Soles in Motion and seeing our spring collection and talking to our amazing team!  Colors and styles to make your feet happy and make you want to shake off the winter blahs and get moving!   See you soon!

Picking Out Proper Running Shoes

There is no single running shoe that is perfect for everyone. What works for cousin Doris may not be suitable for you. Keep in mind everyone’s feet, arches, gait, and running biomechanics are different. Selecting the proper running shoe involves many variables. Some of the things to consider include:

First and Foremost – Determine if you need a NEUTRAL CUSHION running shoe or a STABILITY running shoe. Typically, persons with medium or high arches require a NEUTRAL CUSHION running shoe, and persons with low arches or flat feet require a STABILITY running shoe. Stability running shoes contain technology that is designed to correct overpronation. Overpronation is when you roll too much to the inside of your foot during your foot strike cycle. This normally happens when you have a low arch or flat foot. Have a knowledgeable staff member at a reputable running store determine if you OVER PRONATE.

Second, once you have determined if you need a Neutral Cushion or Stability running shoe then selecting a shoe model comes into play. For simplicity purposes, there are 3 types of running shoes:

  • Traditional Everyday Running Shoes – This is the most common shoe. They offer good cushioning, durability, and are versatile to handle most surfaces (pavement, track, sidewalk, treadmill, hardened trail). They offer good structure under the foot and torsionally they do not twist. As for the DROP (or offset), they are usually between 6mm – 12mm. (The drop refers to how much higher the heel is compared to the forefoot, expressed in millimeters)
  • Lightweight Running Shoes – These are lighter shoes, less cushioning, less durable, and usually less structure under the foot. These are commonly used for speed training and for racing and races. In many cases, they have a lower DROP as well. (i.e. 4mm) Very few Lightweight Shoes come in STABILITY models.
  • Trail Running Shoes – These are best suited for trails and snow/ice. The sole typically features a more aggressive grip with teethier “lugs”. Trail shoes usually are more durable but featureless cushioning than Traditional Everyday running shoes. Very few Trail Shoes come in STABILITY models. Some models feature GORETEX to keep the feet dry.

Third, GET THE RIGHT FIT! A running shoe that doesn’t fit right will not only make your running experience painful, it could also lead to potential injury. Feet tend to spread as you run. They also tend to swell a bit throughout the day, so trying on your shoes in the afternoon or evening may provide a more accurate fit. To accommodate foot spread, there should be roughly one thumb width between the end of your foot and the end of the shoe. The shoe should not pinch or feel sloppy. It should fit comfortably around your foot. Some shoes may better accommodate a narrow or wide foot. Try on numerous models and go with the most comfortable, regardless of color or looks.

The Rise of Plantar Fasciitis– Everyone’s got it…but why?

As a Pedorthic clinic as well as a destination store for comfortable footwear, orthopedic shoes and high-end running footwear we see all kind of foot pain at Soles in Motion. Lately, though it seems we’re seeing one problem more and more, and that is plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse/repetitive strain type injury, and typically presents as heel pain, often particularly acute first thing in the morning, or when getting up after being at rest.  Pain typically diminishes with a few minutes of walking but may come back with extended weight bearing.  Pain may also exist in the arch of the foot.

The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that connects the heel to the toes, and it supports the arch of the foot.  Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of that tissue and is typically brought on by a sudden increase in activity, improper footwear, poor foot biomechanics or some combination of these factors.  With the inflammation comes increased strain at the insertion point into the heel bone, and consequently increased heel pain.  The increase in pain in the morning or after rest is due to cramping/tightening of the tissue that occurs when weight is taken off the foot.

Given this information, the question becomes why are so many people from so many different walks of life suffering from the same condition?  It’s impossible to say for sure, but there are a number of possible explanations.  For one, as we become more knowledgeable about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle more and more people are trying to be more active.  In fact, it seems almost everyone has a step counter of some kind these days!  While this is undeniably a good thing, it does increase the impact and strain on the feet. The prevalence of hard surfaces in our world (asphalt roads, concrete sidewalks, concrete floors, hardwood, tile, laminate) likely contributes as well.  One more option I’ve been considering recently is recent trends in footwear design.

It seems like footwear companies lately have shifted their focus toward making their shoes as soft and as lightweight as possible, often at the expense of proper support.  This creates a shoe that out of the box feels fantastic, and you’ll often hear rave reviews like “it feels like there’s nothing on my foot!”  However, these shoes are often marketed as “walking shoes” or “running shoes” and when footwear that lacks adequate support is used for physical activity it can often be a recipe for foot pain.

At Soles in Motion our trained footwear staff, as well as our two Certified Pedorthists are happy to discuss treatment options for plantar fasciitis or to discuss ways to avoid the problem in the first place.  Drop in or call for an appointment today!

Custom Orthotics and Cleats – A challenging combination… but not an impossible one!

As Certified Pedorthists, we are constantly balancing the needs of our clients against the restrictions that exist in the form of footwear. There are countless different styles of footwear in the world today, and not all shoes are created equal in terms of their ability to accommodate an orthotic. In a perfect world we would be able to design the “perfect” orthotic for our clients, and then fit it in the “perfect” shoe. However, in the real world, this is very rarely an option. The restrictions I alluded to earlier come in different forms, including but not limited to:

  • Occupational requirements – all black, steel toe, business attire and a non-slip sole to name a few.
  • Aesthetic concerns – the constant debate of fashion vs function.
  • Sports/Activities – In many cases there are certain shoes designed for specific activities.

Focusing on that last point for a moment, the performance demands of many sports (and the athletes who play them) cannot be met by a standard everyday shoe, and this can create a difficult fit for someone who wears custom orthotics. This is particularly true in sports such as soccer, baseball, football, rugby, lacrosse and others, where more often than not the athletes use cleats. While there are different types of cleats for the different sports, a common theme among them seems to be that they are a more narrow fit, often with very little extra space in the shoe. So, the question becomes how do we balance our clients’ need for control and support (a need that only increases during high impact activities) with the restrictions that exist in the form of their cleats?

The answer is in the orthotic design, and more specifically the materials used. More rigid materials such as carbon fibre or various plastic polymers can be molded into a shell as thin as 2 or 3mm while maintaining adequate control through the strength of the material. A thin top cover completes the product without adding bulk. This design provides the athlete with the support they need without negatively affecting the fit of the cleats.

This is just one of the many ways in which different orthotic materials and designs can be used to provide solutions to the problems encountered by many orthotic users. Speak to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist to find out what option would be best for you


Your feet have a lot to say if you listen. They will tell you what they like, what they don’t, what hurts and what makes them feel great. They’ll tell you what keeps them up at night and what stresses them out. The good news is that the right footwear and foot orthotics can help you achieve proper body alignment, reduce pain, prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Here’s a little information just for you. If you have low arches or flat feet you probably have very flexible feet with an arch that sits low to the ground. Very little arch definition. This means you may over-pronate, have or are susceptible to plantar fasciitis, post-tibial tendonitis, heel spurs, medial knee problems and bunions. Orthotics should incorporate medial rear foot posting and arch support to keep the foot aligned and help control overpronation. Don’t sweat it! Approximately 20% of the population has low arches so you’re in good company!

Medium arches mean your feet are biomechanically efficient, moderately flexible and have a defined arch. People with medium arches may be susceptible to common foot problems such as heel pain and metatarsalgia from repetitive stress and improper fitting footwear. Orthotics should have arch support, cushioning and shock absorbing materials for comfort and foot pain prevention. Approximately 60% of the population has medium arches so you have lots of company!

Those of your with high arches tend to have very rigid feet with an arch that sits higher from the ground. This puts excessive pressure to rear foot and forefoot and can cause plantar fasciitis, heel pain syndrome, arch strain, metatarsalgia, calluses, claw toes. Orthotics should have proper arch support, metatarsal pads for forefoot relief, and strong cushioning properties. Approximately 20% of the population has high arches so don’t feel you’re all alone! High arches are usually classified as supinated and are more rigid than other feet. When we walk or run, our feet absorb most of the impact and shock. With high arches, you have less surface area for absorbing impact and you place excessive pressure on your rear foot and forefoot areas.

The good news is that the right orthotics can help fill in your arch cavity to disperse the shock and provide the cushioning and alignment needed for you to prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Let our professional staff at Soles in Motion be your Foot Whisperers!


Don’t let sore feet slow you down this spring!

There can be many reasons why your feet hurt – improper footwear, not enough support in the right places, not enough cushioning, medical condition or an injury.  It is hard to know where to start.  The best option is to see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for an assessment.  Assessments determine what the problem is and what solution would be best for you.

Custom and off the shelf orthotics are shoe inserts that can:

  • Correct gait problems
  • Address structural foot fault
  • Provide foot support
  • Relieve pressure on painful areas of the foot
  • Provide motion control

Custom-made orthotics provide individual correction specific for your foot problem. There are different types of orthotics.

Functional orthotics are used to correct problems with a person’s foot mechanics such as overpronation (the foot rolls inward) or supination (the arch is too high and the foot rolls outward) Accommodative orthotics are designed to fit and protect the foot generally from where it functions via cushioning and specific unloading and to relieve pain and pressure in the foot. They improve tolerance for the weight-bearing tasks of daily life and typically used with diabetic patients.

Custom orthotics can be used to treat many different medical conditions such as:

  • Arch pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ball of the foot pain (Metarsalgia)
  • Shin splints
  • Bunions
  • Leg or knee pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Flat feet

Generally speaking, your feet should NOT hurt. Pain indicates that something is wrong.Consider making a no obligation appointment with one of our Certified Canadian Pedorthist to have a gait and lower leg assessment. The goal of the Pedorthist is to understand your foot problem and come up with a solution that will minimize your pain, maximize your mobility, and provide long-term gain.

Soles in Motion has two Canadian Certified Pedorthists on staff – make a no obligation appointment today by calling 902-468-7911.Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Co-owner, General Manager, Soles in Motion, 133 Baker Drive, Dartmouth 902-468-7911 (

Happy Walking!

Are your Feet Barking at you?

barking-feetSo how do you keep your feet happy and healthy? Learn to listen to them. If they are “barkin”, first be sure you are in the right footwear. Also, follow these tips:

  • Get both feet measured every time you buy shoes.
  • Be sure there’s plenty of room in the toe box area. Toes should wiggle freely not feel pressured or cramped. There should also be a thumb’s width space between the tip of the toes (especially the longest one) and the end of the shoe.
  • Ladies, try tracing your foot on a piece of paper. Next, place one of your “high fashion” shoes over the tracing. It should be pretty clear why your feet hurt.
  • Never think that you can “break-in” a shoe. The shoe always wins that battle.
  • Always wear the correct footwear designed for your specific sport or activity. All sneakers are not created equal!

Winter is here! It’s time to choose your winter snow boots. It can be easy to try and find boots that are more fashionable. However, when you do this, you are running the risk of choosing fashion over function, sacrificing the important elements of a snow boot. When choosing winter boots, you need to make sure you look at the traction. You don’t want boots that have little to no traction, as this will cause you to slip and slide in winter weather. Your boots should be waterproof or water-resistant and warm. While this seems like a given, many people don’t consider how warm boots will be when it comes to choosing winter boots. Regular spring weather rain boots aren’t going to cut it when the temps drop below freezing and you’re walking on snow and ice. Look for footwear that is insulated, and also make sure you wear great winter socks with the boots. All Winter Boots Should be Comfortable – Try the boots on and see just how comfortable they are. You want winter boots that will not only keep your feet dry and warm but also boots that won’t hurt you.

The team at Soles in Motion wants to thank everyone who has made our first year in our new location a success. It brings us great joy to know we have helped enough people to grow and build a family of happy customers. Our services and products are a great solution to all those who want to be healthier, more active and in less pain.

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Co-owner, General Manager, Soles in Motion, 133 Baker Drive, Dartmouth 902-468-7911 (

Arthritis Awareness Month

September is Arthritis Awareness Month.  Here are some key points about arthritis that I am sure you have heard at one time or another but this disease needs public attention.  Arthritis can impair a person’s ability to perform “everyday” tasks. Physical activity has a positive effect on arthritis and can improve pain, function and mental health. Factors in the development of arthritis include injury, abnormal metabolism, genetic makeup, infections and immune system dysfunction. Treatment for arthritis aims to control pain, minimize joint damage and improve or maintain a quality of life.

There are many types of arthritis and one of the most common is osteoarthritis. I believe education and solutions to delay future damage and keep active is extremely important. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that tends to get worse over time. Because of this, early treatment for OA is incredibly important to take control of your disease, delay future damage and keep your joints healthy. Look at your non-surgical options, and make your own decision. As part of the Medicine in Motion team, there is a non-referral Knee Clinic day offered every month.  Patients can make an appointment directly with a Sports Medicine physician who specializes in joint injuries and diseases. Soles in Motion offers a no risk 30 day trial on our Osteoarthritis Unloader Knee Braces. By unloading the affected compartment of the knee, the unloader brace offers people with knee OA a safe, proven, low-risk treatment that will reduce your pain and improve your mobility. I have seen the results and am confident you will be able to maintain or return to an active and healthy lifestyle as a result. As part of our Centre of Excellence, we also provide physio, massage and a specialized exercise/rehab clinic dedicated to working with clients with injury and disease.

Soles in Motion focuses on providing you with the best solution to improve your lifestyle, mobility and activity level no matter what your ability.  Come in a talk to us, we would love to help you!

Submitted by Jen Estabrooks, Co-owner, Soles in Motion, 133 Baker Drive, Dartmouth


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease of the entire joint involving the cartilage, joint lining and ligaments and underlying bone. The breakdown of these tissues eventually leads to pain and joint stiffness.

The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are the joints that get heavy use, such as hips and knees, hands, the spine and also often the base of the thumb and the big toe joint.

Nearly 1 in 2 people develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by the age of 85, and 1 in 4 people develop hip arthritis in their lifetime.4 Knee osteoarthritis is one of the five leading causes of disability among non-institutionalized adults. Weight loss of 11 pounds can halve a woman’s risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.

Taking part in moderate physical activity 3 times or more per week can reduce the risk of arthritis-related disability by 47% in older adults with knee osteoarthritis.

Between 1979 and 1988, osteoarthritis was responsible for an average 0.2 to 0.3 deaths per 100,000 people. This figure has increased over the years, with OA accounting go around 6% of all arthritis-related deaths in 2003, working out to around 500 deaths per year.

These calculations are likely to be underestimated as they do not include deaths related to things such as gastrointestinal bleeding caused by medications used to treat OA.

For more information on osteoarthritis, see our article: What is osteoarthritis? What causes osteoarthritis?