How To Avoid Buying the Wrong Shoes

How important are correct shoes?

Our feet are the foundation of our everyday lives.  Every good foundation must have the right support.  Most of our lives are spent in shoes.  Anyone can go out and buy a new pair of shoes based simply on how they look, but for the person who is always and always on their feet; good footwear is worth its weight in gold.  However, footwear goes far beyond the appearance that a shoe has on the foot.  Bad footwear can cause injuries or have long term effects on our posture so investing in a quality pair will be beneficial in the long run.

Symptoms of wearing the wrong shoes.

There are many different pathologies that can be the result of ill fitting footwear. . These pathologies include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Callous
  • Corns
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Ankle sprain
  • Back pain

These pathologies can be a result of not caring for your feet during those days of prolonged standing in conjunction with poor fitting footwear.

Styles To Avoid

Stylish shoes may look attractive, but they aren’t doing your feet any favors. The types of footwear to avoid include:

  • High heels or shoes with a wedge: High heels change the alignment of your body, which puts extra stress on your legs, hips and back. Wearing high heels regularly causes the Achilles tendon to tighten and shorten, which can actually make it painful to wear flat shoes or be barefoot. High heels also create more pressure on the ball of your foot, which causes the foot’s natural padding to thin and provide less cushion where you need it most. All of this extra pressure can also lead to calluses.
  • Pointed-toe shoes or narrow fitting footwear: These can aggravate an existing bunion. Moreover, the awkward positioning of your toes can also cause them to contract and eventually curl under permanently, a condition known as hammertoe. Hammertoe requires medical intervention to correct. Narrow fitting footwear can also be the cause of corns on the outside of the 5thtoes as well ascorns in between the toes.
  • Flip flops or slides: Flat flip flops provide no arch support. Lack of proper foot support is a leading cause of plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Plantar fasciitis is caused by the excessive pull of the plantar fascia, an arch-supporting ligament, causing pain and inflammation at the heel. Achilles tendinitis is caused by poor mechanics of the foot, leading to overstretching of the tendon. The reason for the cause of these pathologies is because the foot has to work extra hard to keep the flip flop on the foot.
  • Ballet flats. Ballet flats are equally as bad for your feet as flip flops because they, too, provide little support. There is no arch system to help absorb the brunt of the pressure the feet endure every day. Moreover, the foot also has to work hard to keep the baller flat on, and ballet flats usually have a narrow fitting toe box and not a lot of depth.

How to choose the best shoes

Professional Help Buying Shoes

Shopping for shoes is more important than fashion. That said, choosing the right shoe can seem quite confusing as there are so many brands and styles to choose from! In addition to helping you feel comfortable and preventing injuries, wearing good shoes can affect your whole body and how you function throughout the day. Here are some tips on what to look for and how to decide:

  • Stiff back / heel counter

Grasp the heel in one hand and the shoe above the heel in the other hand. You should not be able to move the shoe side-to-side around the heel or be able to squash the heel.

  • Toe / Forefoot flexion

You want the shoe to flex and roll the way your foot does naturally, to bend where your toes bend. To check, place a hand at either end of the shoe and try to bend it in half. The shoe should only flex where the toes naturally bend, about two-thirds from the back, not in the middle of the shoe.

  • Provide arch support

You podiatrist or an experienced shoe salesman will be able to help you identify the amount of arch support you need based on your foot type. When in doubt, ask your podiatrist.

  • Feel comfortable straight away

It speaks for itself. When first placing a shoe on your foot, it should feel comfortable straight away. You should not need to “wear in” or have to “get used to” your new footwear.

  • Wide and long enough at the toes

Your shoe should not push on your toes or make them curl. They should also not place pressure on your feet from the side, making it feel like your toes are being squashed together.

  • Heel to toe gradient

The optimal elevation or drop in height from the heel to the toe of the shoe should be approximately 10-12mm. This provides the ankle with optimal range to support the foot and lower back.

  • Removable insole

If your podiatrist has recommended that you wear orthotics, it is important to make sure the insole of the shoe can be removed to allow room for the orthotic. If you have your orthotics with you, check that they fit in the shoe without squeezing your toes or causing the shoe to slip off.

  • Durability

Just because your work shoes are for standing or running around all day doesn’t mean that they won’t wear out. In fact, most workers who stand for long hours actually go through more pairs of shoes than people who walk around more. That’s because as opposed to walking where your shoes get the chance to wear out evenly, standing in one spot puts an excessive amount of pressure on certain parts of your shoe. Repeat this stance day in day out, and it’s very easy to see why your shoes will die very quickly. Make sure you purchase work shoes that not only look tough, but also constructed with high-quality materials that are made to last longer. Renown brands offer products that work as hard as you do.

  • Heel and Arch Support

No matter what kind of job you perform, we all know how crucial arch support can be. People who stand all day exert all their weight on the fragile tendons and ligaments that make up the plantar fascia. Over time, this leads to weakened arches and issues such as plantar fasciitis or collapsed foot bones. Studies show that arch support is crucial when it comes to alleviating pain and providing long term comfort for people who stay on their feet for extended periods of time. Flat soles are the worst design for standing all day. Ensure your work shoes offer a generous degree of arch support to keep all the stress and pain at bay. Arch support also means less fatigue and more productivity at the end of the day.

How to find the right shoes for you

When in doubt, ask your podiatrist. We are always here to help diagnose, treat and prevent all kinds of foot injuries and are more than happy to help you find that perfect shoe! Also, if you have current shoes that you are unsure if they are suitable for you, bring them to your consultation for us to assess.

Where Can I get help?

Your Podiatrist is the answer! Call Foot Centre Group on 03 9553 0044 or visit footcentregroup.com.au to book your appointment.

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