Choosing Shoes And Orthotics To Treat And Prevent Foot Problems

If you buy shoes to make a fashion statement rather than choosing a pair that supports your feet, you may be at risk of developing foot problems. While you may get away with high heels, pointy toes, or flat sandals for special occasions, if you wear shoes like that every day, you could develop hammertoe, bunions, or plantar fasciitis. Here are a few things to know about buying shoes and inserts that keep your feet healthy.

Toe Shape

The toes of your shoes are very important. Your toes should have plenty of room to rest in their natural position. Plus, there should be enough room at the tips of your toes so they do not brush against the shoe. Round and square toes are best for long-term wear. Pointed shoes put a lot of pressure on your toes, especially when they are combined with high heels that force your toes against the ends of your shoes. If the toes of your shoes are too tight, you could develop an ingrown toenail, or worse. The joints in your toes could be affected and cause your toes, especially your big toes, to become deformed and painful.

If you've already developed problems with painful toes or toes that are bent out of their usual shape, you should ask your podiatrist about the best orthotics to wear inside your shoes. Your podiatrist may give you a brace for your toes or cushioned pads to wear inside your shoes. You may even need orthopedic shoes with roomy toes that allow your feet to heal.

Arch Support

Arch support is also very important. The ball of your foot should rest comfortably on the widest part of your shoe. The arch of the shoe should be firm and fit perfectly with the arch of your foot. If you can't get a comfortable fit with your shoes, your podiatrist can give you custom arch supports that make wearing shoes more comfortable. It is often difficult to find shoes off the rack that fit as well as they should. Your feet may have an unusual shape, or your feet may be different sizes. When this is the case, orthotics can alter the shape of your shoe enough to make it more comfortable, and so it provides optimum arch support.

If you wear shoes with no arch support, such as flat sandals, or shoes with arches that don't fit in alignment with your natural arch, you could develop plantar fasciitis. This is a painful condition that's caused by damaging the tissue that runs along the sole of your foot. It can take several weeks or months for plantar fasciitis to heal so you can walk without pain. Padded shoe inserts and arch supports make walking more comfortable.

Heel Fit

The heel of your shoe is an important consideration too, especially when wearing walking or running shoes. A slipping heel causes blisters. A heel that's too tight can irritate the tendon on the back of your foot. You also want a heel with sufficient padding. Your heel absorbs the pressure when you walk or run. If the shoes you choose don't have enough padding, you can place heel cups in your shoes. Heel cups provide padding and elevation to your foot so there is less stress on your Achilles tendon. If your Achilles tendon is injured or strained, it will be painful to walk and you could even develop bone spurs on your heel.

Choosing the right shoes can be daunting, especially if you have foot pain already. If you stand on your feet all day for work or if you do a lot of walking or running, then you definitely want to spend time finding the perfect solution for your feet. A podiatrist, like North Hill Foot & Ankle Clinic Podiatrist, can help you pick the right shoes and inserts for treating as well as preventing a variety of foot problems.