Throughout history, different kinds of footwear have existed to protect people’s feet. There have been sandals, moccasins, slippers, clogs, and boots, leading up to today’s sneakers, athletic footwear, and fashion shoes. They can be soft, stiff, plain, decorated, garish, practical, or just for show. They can even be specialized for different activities or for unique needs. Whatever shoes you choose to wear, they can have a lasting impact on your feet and either contribute to or relieve foot and ankle pain.
Know Your Footwear
Nowadays your foot coverings are designed to not just look different, but support your feet in various ways. The different parts of a shoe all perform functions meant to keep it on your foot and protect your body’s main foundation. Knowing a little about them can help you make wiser decisions for your shoes.
Anatomy of a Shoe
Like every other physical object, a shoe is composed of multiple pieces, like the sole, toe box, and heel grip. The parts are made to cushion and hold your foot securely in a certain position.
What to Look For
There are some general standards of footwear to help protect your feet. You will want to choose ones that pad your soles, provide room for your toes, and keep your feet from sliding around. Still, which shoes are best for you is partially determined by your needs. If you have a condition that affects your arches, you may need extra support that area. If your ankles are unstable, your shoes should accommodate that. If you struggle with pain in your heels or the balls of your feet, then additional padding there may be required.
Getting a Proper Fit
You need to have your feet measured when they are at their largest—typically in the late afternoon and early evening. Once they have been measured, you can look for choices that match your foot’s length and width.
You can partially determine your arch needs by the appearance of your footprint. Full footprints that show the majority of the sole of the foot, or ones that have only an outside edge, reveal arch problems that could cause pain if not well supported.
Worn-out shoes are one of the main culprits in over-use injuries, especially in athletes. The eroded sections of the soles are not able to cushion the foot as well and can encourage wrong footfalls when walking, which strains different body structures. The wear patterns, however, can be helpful for determining your needs when shopping for new shoes.
Types of Shoes
Your activities, your age, and your gender are also important factors in for your footwear choices. Athletic shoes are different from sport to sport, meant to accommodate the different pressures you put on your feet in each. Men and women’s shoes are structured differently. Men’s shoes tend to be better suited to natural foot anatomy, but may not provide for your individual needs. Women’s shoes come in all shapes, sizes, and kinds. Taking special care can mean footwear that is both flattering and comfortable. Children’s shoes need to provide support to growing feet, and have to be replaced frequently to prevent cramping. If regular footwear doesn’t support your unique needs, then corrective and prescription shoes can be ordered, so that you stay protected and cared for.
Your footwear choices are more than just a fashion statement. When they are good, they cover and protect these important foundations of your body and help you move forward effectively. When they are not, they can damage your feet and result in painful injuries or conditions. If you are struggling to find adequate footwear, are unsure about your foot and ankle needs, or are already experiencing pain, don’t ignore it and just hope it doesn’t get worse. Contact Dr. Sanjay Patel of Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Hamden and Milford for more information or an appointment. You can reach either of our two offices by visiting our contact page or by calling (203) 876-7736 for the Milford location and (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden office.