What do podiatrists do? Part 3

Footwear

Footwear is very important; lots of foot pain can be exacerbated or caused by poor or inappropriate footwear choice.

Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing shoes:

-Make sure the shoe is appropriate for the activity for example, the footwear for running a marathon should be different to the shoes worn for a kick around in the park, depending on the level and type of activity you are doing footwear will change. Casual gym going with a few weights, a bit of cardio and some classes may potentially still warrant a different shoe from regular running (maybe something less cushioned and more responsive). If you are lifting heavy weights in the gym then a stiffer harder, higher heel raised shoe is usually more suitable than a running shoe. Likewise, if you play a lot of court sports, a specific court shoe will have different characteristics than a general trainer or running shoe. Even occupation will have an impact, a hairdresser or chef on their feet for hours every day, should be considering different footwear to someone who sits at a desk all day.

shutterstock_484975483-Make sure the shoe is comfortable, some shoes will be designed to be more comfortable than others (think a marathon running shoe vs a racing spike) but footwear should still always be comfortable (not pinching or digging in), if it isn’t comfortable then it doesn’t fit correctly.

-Try to avoid heels above 2 inches for long periods of weightbearing. Above 2 inches the structure, function and pressures exerted on the foot and lower limb are drastically changed and can lead to all manner of problems down the line.

-Try to avoid slip on shoes or flat flip flops for extended periods of weightbearing. The foot will overwork and claw to hold onto a shoe that isn’t fastened to the foot, they are unsupportive and usually too flat which exerts pressure on the heel.

-Removable insoles in a shoe allow you (or your podiatrist) to more easily modify the footwear, it allows for more depth and accommodation within a shoe.

-As a guide for a general shoe worn for long periods of weighbearing, ideally it should have some kind of fastening, a supportive heel counter, a slight heel and a supportive cushioned midsole.shutterstock_89411002

Size is important, shoes should have some space (usually around 1cm) between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This is to allow for changes of volume in the foot; this is more important the longer you are on your feet as heat and loading will cause greater changes in volume. However the shoe still needs to feel secure and the foot should not be slipping or moving within the shoe.

-Always make an effort to try on shoes before buying. Despite saying they are a wide fit or a size 7, fits and sizes do vary massively, so always buy based on fit rather than what is written on the label.

Lace up shoes are useful as they allow for more adjustment in fit of a shoe. Different lacing techniques can also be used to relieve pressure or increase support in certain areas.

 

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