By: Dr. Belinda M. Dotter
One of the most common questions asked in my Dayton area Podiatry office involves shoes. What shoes are good? How do I buy shoes? Am I doing the right thing about my shoe wear?
Shoes are near and dear to almost every woman's heart and many of us have at one time, preferred to be crippled but gorgeous, as opposed to comfortable but not-so-cute. With these guidelines, perhaps we can find a happy medium.
- Shoe sizes differ between manufacturers. You can have your shoe size measured, but use it as a guideline. Try half a size up or down your measurement. Buy shoes later in the day, to accommodate for swelling. Have your feet measured once per year, as age, pregnancy, and weight gain may increase shoe sizes. If you lose weight, your feet also get smaller. Not only will you need new clothing, but new shoes too (bonus!). Do not buy tight shoes thinking that they will "break-in" later on. Buy shoes that are comfortable from the start.
- 3 inch heel limit. Stacked heels, wedges are vastly better than stiletto heels. If you have "weak" ankles, or history of ankle sprains, strictly avoid stilettos as you will further injure your ankles. Chronic stiletto heel wearers regularly develop achilles tendonitis and contraction of the achilles tendon, making it too tight and causing pain with every step.
- Pick shoes with thicker soles. More cushion, more support. Constantly wearing flip-flops during the summer may cause many a foot pain. Notice that when you wear them, your toes grip or flex, to try and hold the flip-flop in place. You may develop plantar fasciitis (arch pain or heel pain) or hammertoes!
- Limit wearing the same shoes every day. It puts repeated pressure on identical areas of the foot, causing irritation and letting deformities further develop or worsen (such as bunions or hammertoes). You may also re-infect your foot continually if you have athlete's foot!
- Finally, orthotics. There is a controversy about their increasing use, especially since custom orthotics cost hundreds of dollars and is not regularly covered by insurance. Many foot problems are prevented and alleviated by orthotic wear, but some foot problems caused by overuse, overtraining, and being overweight won't be helped by them. Using orthotics heavily depends on the primary cause of your foot pain so discuss with your podiatrist how the orthotics will help you.
- As a final note, Studies by Irene Davis, professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, found that "semi-custom" models (the lab uses a mold of the patient's feet to identify the best-fitting prefabricated insole) work as well as the totally customized, built-from-scratch kind.
If you are still having a hard time figuring out which shoes work best for you, stop by or call one of our six Dayton and Springfield Community Foot Specialists locations to speak with a podiatrist. We're here to get you (comfortably!) back on your feet! Call today, 937-426-9500