Footwear is a very important aspect of podiatric care. Unfortunately, most people who seek footcare usually use shoes that contribute to their foot problems. Your choice of shoes can be the difference between an active life and one of discomfort and pain. Many foot problems are caused by mechanical foot faults that cause stresses on the soft tissues and bones of the foot and lower leg.
In simple terms, our bodies can be compared to a giant stringed puppet . Every muscle or muscle group that has one action is balanced by another muscle or muscle group that has the opposite function. If everything works right we are in complete balance. Imbalance can be created if our arches flatten or thinning occurs of the cushion pads over the balls of are feet. If the imbalance is severe it can cause ankle, shin, knee and back problems. Good fitting shoes can help to maintain that balance.
Good fitting footwear provides a good base of support and protection. All quality shoes get their support from the steel shank in the arch. The counters in the heels are the next most critical factor. Laces support better than straps; straps better than loafers; loafers better than flats; flats better than pumps. There is a greater potential for long term foot harm with a softer and more open shoe. This could explain why women who make up half of the population but have over 75% of the foot problems.
There are a number of shoe sizing systems which leads to confusion. The majority of people will guess at the size shoe they wear. Many of my patients will get a bigger shoe in length to get the required width. If your shoe is too short to fit a narrow foot or long to fit a wide foot, the shoe will not bend right. If the shoe does not bend in the right spot it may pinch or cause toe deformity over time.
In order to get a proper fitting shoe it must fit the width of the ball of the foot. The widest part of the foot should be in the widest part of the shoe. If this lines up, the arch and the rest of the foot will be in the correct position.
Custom foot orthoses are component of the podiatric treatment plan. This requires good fitting footwear to be "orthotic friendly". Good fitting footwear combined with a custom made foot orthotic device can reduced the stresses on the soft tissues and bones of the lower extremities.
Over the past decade, orthopedic footwear manufacturers have developed shoes that are lighter and more stylish than orthopedic shoes of yesteryear. Over the counter orthopedic shoes are designed to accommodate many foot types and foot deformity. Certain foot deformities may require a shoe modification to accommodate a bunion or hammer toe. There are many shoe modifications that can be prescribed to accommodate any number of foot deformities.
Severe structural foot deformities may require a custom casted orthopedic shoe. This option is very expensive and may require a number of follow up visits to achieve the right fit.
Good shoes can prevent problems from developing. If you already have a problem, good shoes can help prevent it from getting worse. In general, shoes, foot orthotics and other assistive devices, never cure the problem, just accommodate or control the problem.
For your convenience, we can order "off the shelf" orthopedic shoes from Drew™ shoes or Dr. Comfort™ shoes. We can size the shoe that fits your foot width and depth requirements, from our stock of "try on shoes" from our display. The shoes usually take 3-5 days until they are delivered to our office.