604.739.2118 spinehealth@shaw.ca

Since we spend many hours every day on our feet, picking the right pair of shoes is very important.   Shoes that are not fitted correctly can cause muscle fatigue, blisters and calluses.  Furthermore, these problems can eventually lead to knee and back pain.  Choosing the correct type of shoe can prolong walking, decrease fatigue and pain.

solesoffeetThe first factor to consider is the size of the shoe.  Some people like to wear shoes too big or too small.  An oversized or undersized shoe will cause more rubbing and will lead to blister, broken skin and calluses.  The shoe should fight snug, but not tight, will act like another layer of skin that will help protect the feet.  You should not be able to put a finger loosely in the back of your heel when you shift your feet to the forward of the shoe.  In addition, if you have wide feet, you should not wear pointy shoes.  Your toes should be able to wiggle freely in your shoe.

Secondly, permeability of the shoe is important.  The shoe needs to breathe well to prevent fungus infection.  Shoes with fabric will breathe better than shoes made with all leather/vinyl.   However, shoes with fabric are not good in wet conditions, such as in kitchen or outdoor.   If you sweat a lot or use the footwear for physical activities, then fabric shoes are better.

In addition to the material of the shoe, the sole is also important.  Thicker soles offer more protection.  If you have knee or back pain, the heel of the shoe should be softer to help absorb the vibrations when the heel strikes the ground.  Unfortunately, softer heels wear out faster.

A common question that I get a lot from my patients is whether they should get shoes with lace or without.  The answer to this is your preference.  Some people like to slip into their shoes and some like to tie the lace to tighten the shoe.  However, if you have a high instep, then get lace shoes are better.

The fifth major item to check in the shoe is the agility.  The shoe should be able to flex reasonably well at the front third of the shoe.  Walking and running requires the bending of the front part of the shoe.  However, the shoe should be rigid enough to prevent twisting.

Another item to check is the weight of the shoe.  Heavy boots may be fashionable, but are not good for long walks.  Light shoes will allow for longer activity without muscle fatique.

Lastly, everyone should consider having their feet check.  Custom made orthotic will help properly align the feet and the rest of the body to prevent injury.   For more information, please contact Dr. Kenny Chan at 604-739-2118 or visit his website at www.drkennychan.ca