Our feet endure several hundred tons of pressure each day as a result of the tremendous pressures of daily living. Footwear provides much needed support, protection, comfort and sturdiness to the feet and many foot problems can be reduced or alleviated completely by wearing the proper type of shoes for the activities you are engaged in. The Cincinnati podiatrists are health care providers that are trained for both palliative and surgical care of the foot and ankle, and they are qualified to recommend the right pairs of shoes or address other aspects of foot health for all members of your family.
Children generally don’t require footwear when they first begin to walk. Allowing an infant to go barefoot or with only socks in the house allows the child’s foot to develop muscles and strength and perfect the grasping abilities of the toes. As children grow and become more active, their feet develop and only then will shoes become necessary. Shoes will then need to be changed frequently to allow for growth at a rate that often dismays parents. When purchasing shoes for children, follow these Cincinnati podiatrist tips.
Examine the Shoes: Children’s shoes should have a firm heel counter, stiff material on either side of the heel, adequate cushioning of the insole and a built-in arch. They should also be flexible enough to bend with the foot at the ball of the foot and not in the middle of the shoe.
Size the Shoes Properly: A child’s shoe should only be sized when the child is standing with full weight-bearing.
Allow Wiggle Room: There should be a one-half inch space between the tip of the child’s toes and the end of the shoe, allowing the toes to wiggle freely.
Walk Around: Feel the shoe for staples, inside stitching or other areas that may irritate the child’s foot. If the shoes are acceptable, have the child walk around the store wearing the shoes for a few minutes. Ask the child if there are any pressure spots and look for signs of irritation on the feet after the shoes have been worn.
Prevent Sprains: The shoes should never slip off at the heels. If your child tends to experience ankle sprains, go with a high-top shoe or boot.
Measure Both Feet: If your child’s feet are two different sizes, always go for the size that fits the larger foot best.
Women tend to inflict more punishment on their feet, mostly from wearing improper footwear. The most common culprit for foot problems is the high-heeled shoe, which our Cincinnati podiatrists consider medically unsound. Not only do they contribute to foot problems and bad posture, but they are also unsafe.
Women are encouraged to limit the time they wear high heels, alternating between good quality sneakers and flats for part of the day. If high heels must be worn, vary the heel height using performance or comfort pumps that blend fashion and comfort for a variety of activities.
The best shoe for women is a walking shoe with laces, a polymerized composition sole and a wider heel with a padded heel counter. The heel should be no more than three-quarters of an inch in height.
Men are encouraged to look for a good quality oxford style of shoe with a wing-tip or cap toe design. Slip-ons, dress loafers and low dress boots are also acceptable. Office workers should have three to five pairs of shoes for business hours, those who work on their feet should look for cushioned sole shoes and men who work in heavy industry should look for safety shoes and boots that offer water protection or resistance with an insulated steel toe cap and made of non-conducting materials. Shoes that are designed for work or activity will prevent injuries to the feet and reduce the severity of injuries if they do happen to occur.
Athletes would be wise to invest in sports-specific footwear, such as running or basketball shoes. Footwear should be fitted to hold the foot in the position that is most natural to the movement involved, and shoes should always be replaced at the first sign of wear and tear.
Tips for Buying Shoes
Measure your feet while standing, try on both shoes wearing normal socks and walk around the store to ensure comfort. Don’t buy shoes that require a ‘break in’ period. Shoes should be comfortable from the beginning. It is also a good idea to shop for shoes later in the day, due to normal feet swelling. If the shoes pinch your toes, opt for a different pair. If you wear prescription orthotics, you should always take them with you when you expect to be fitted for footwear. For the most comfortable shoe that will prevent injuries, select shoes with stiff heel counters, appropriate cushioning and flexibility at the ball of the foot.
Proper Shoe Care
To keep your shoes performing for you well into the future, always keep your shoes clean and in good repair. Never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. By rotating your footwear, you allow your shoes to breathe, which will prolong their life. If you notice excessive wear on the heels or soles, replace your shoes immediately. Never wear hand-me-downs and especially never give them to children to wear.
Look for the APMA Seal of Acceptance
The American Podiatric Medical Association offers an Acceptance award to a wide variety of footwear and footwear products that are deemed to enhance a consistently applied program of daily foot care and professional treatment. For a list of shoe companies that hold the APMA Seal of Acceptance, you are encouraged to visit www.apma.org.
For more information regarding the proper types of footwear for children, men or women, call The Center for Foot Care or make an appointment with your Cincinnati podiatrist at your earliest convenience.