shoeNothing is quite as uncomfortable as a shoe that isn’t the right size. What is worse is the potential injury that comes with an ill-fitting shoe.  Aside from the blisters and chafing it can cause, wearing a shoe that’s the wrong size can cause injury to the tendons and ligaments in your foot, leading to potentially long-lasting problems.  It’s important to find a shoe that fits you properly not only for day-to-day use, but also for running and walking.

Check the Fitting
A proper pair of shoes will allow you to wiggle your toes, but still be secure across the instep.

  • If the toes are too tight, or the instep too loose, then the shoe doesn’t fit properly.
  • Remember that shoes are made with a number of different variations, so picking up an identical pair may result in a different fit.
  • If your feet are shaped differently than most, then you may need to look into custom shoes.

Flexibility of the Shoe
When shopping for a pair of shoes, pick up the samples and bend them both at the heel and the toe. Check how flexible it is.

  • If the shoe is too rigid, it may be uncomfortable to wear. If it’s overly flexible, then it may not provide the proper support your foot needs.
  • After bending it, twist it across the center. If it bends too easily, it likely doesn’t have enough resistance for when you’re walking or running.

While it’s possible to break a shoe in to fit more comfortable, do you really want to take the risk that it may not?

Pick a Shoe that Fits Your Arch
It’s important to know your arch type.  Here’s an easy exercise: dip your foot into a tub of water and step onto cardboard.  If your entire footprint is visible, then you probably have low arches.  On the other hand, if you can’t see the middle of your foot, you may have high arches.

Choosing the right type of shoe to lend support to your foot type is important for preventing injury.  Shoes come with a number of built-in supports, including an Achilles notch that reduces the stress on the Achilles tendon, or an insole, which cushions your arch and provides support for those with high arches.  If you suffer from chronic foot pain, consult a physician to determine whether you need special supports.

Know When to Replace the Shoe
Wearing fitness technology such as a Fitbit is advisable for more than one reason.  While it allows you to measure how active you are, it also allows you to see how many miles you’ve put into a shoe.

  • It’s recommended that you purchase a new pair of shoes every 300 to 600 miles.
  • If you wear a shoe for too long, it can cause it to degrade and break down, leading to poor support and causing foot pain.
  • Keep a Fitbit or other piece of tracking software just for your exercise shoes so you can know when to replace them.

Choosing the right shoe is essential to preventing injury to yourself.  While these features listed above are important, there are a number of other considerations to take into account.  Do you want shoes that are waterproof, have extra breath-ability, or other features?  Determining what you want from a pair of shoes is important before you begin shopping.  It’s much easier to find the perfect pair of shoes when you know exactly what you’re looking for.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author: Michele Holincheck, FNP

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