Shoe Recommendations

Many foot problems are caused by shoes that don't fit correctly. Shoes that are too short compress the toes and foot bones. Ones that are too narrow up front squeeze the toes together. Those that lack arch support and heel cushioning can cause heel spurs and an inflammation called plantar fasciitis.

The common consequences of poorly fitting shoes are familiar to many people: bunions, calluses, corns, and ingrown toenails to name a few. You may not be aware that they can also cause very painful pinched nerves, stress fractures, aggravated arthritic conditions, and plain old foot fatigue.

Poorly fitting or designed shoes can affect your neck and shoulders. Your feet are the foundation for the rest of your body. If they can't function properly, your knees, hips, lower back, and spine try to compensate for the misalignment. That can lead to problems in all of these areas, and the cause can be as simple as your shoes.

How Do I know If I Am Wearing a Good Shoe?

Here are some of the major considerations. Bear in mind that special activities, like running or hiking, call for specific design elements that might differ from general-purpose shoes. First, a good shoe controls the foot, not vice versa. Don't confuse "control" with "constrict"....feet need room to move. Structurally, feet are very complex and require specific kinds of support to avoid injury-causing stretches, bends, and twists.

Good shoe design provides comfortable support that cradles your foot and keeps it in proper alignment whether moving or standing still.

One good test is to hold the shoe and try to twist it.

If it's easy to bend the shoe out of shape, it's probably not a good choice. Another test is to try to bend the shoe in half so the toe meets the heel. You can almost roll some shoes into a ball. That indicates very little support, which means it's probably not a good choice for long-term wear.

Shoes need to bend easily with your toes, but they should firmly support the heel and arch.

Most people should look for long heel counters, the support that goes from the heel to the arch. One reason athletic shoes feel comfortable is that they typically have long heel counters. You can judge a shoe's heel counter by feeling the firmness of the actual cup of the heel. This is the area that cradles your heel. It should be firm, Put a thumb on the center of the counter at the back of the shoe and push forward. It should not flex with pressure.

The Shoe Test

shoe01.jpg good flexion in the forefoot. Shoes should flex here.

bad flexion in the midfoot. Shoes should not flex here.

shoe03.jpg grasp & squeeze the heel. It should not bend in as in shoe04.jpg this picture,

but should stay rigid and not bend in as in this picture. shoe05.jpg

icon_video.gif View more about what makes a good shoe and types of shoes on the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine website >>

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