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Choose Your Shoes

Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in foot and ankle care are trained to provide the most comprehensive treatment, encompassing the wide spectrum of conservative to surgical solutions.

Many constitutions of the foot and ankle – some of which cause pain, others which cause burning and aching – can be addressed best with proper shoe wear.

The primary purpose of shoes is to protect your feet and prevent injury.  But in order to do so, they must fit well.  Poorly fitted shoes – shoes that are too narrow, too short or too large – can cause discomfort, injury and even permanent deformity.

Understanding the components of proper fit can help you make sensible shoe purchases for yourself and your family.  You should:

  • Choose a shoe based on fit and comfort, not on the size listed on the shoe.
  • Select a shoe that conforms as closely as possible to the actual shape of your foot.
  • Have your feet measured regularly – the size of your foot changes as you grow.
  • Have both feet measured, and select a shoe that fits the larger foot.
  • Stand during the fitting process and check that there is adequate space (3/8 to 1/2 inch) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe.
  • Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.
  • Don’t purchase shoes that are too tight with the hopes that they will “stretch.”
  • Make sure your heel fits comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slippage.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you can help avoid soreness, blisters, calluses and, over time, long-term disfigurement caused by habitually crowding your feet into shoes that do not properly fit.

Source: American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society

– Jonathan P. Smerek M.D.