Do you buy shoes based on how they look instead of how they feel? Do you wear heels for work or when going out? Have you ever had plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, bunions, hammer toes, or other foot ailments? If you answered YES to any of these questions…please read this blog entry for further guidance in your footwear purchases! Footwear can be a fashion statement but is also so important in protecting and supporting our feet. If you suffer from chronic foot/ankle pain, then it is time to pay attention to your shoe purchasing habits and the shoes you wear daily.
What is a proper fitting shoe? Look at a pair of shoes you wear most often. Does it have the shape of a foot? If the toe box is narrow towards the end of the shoe where your toes are located, then you may be wearing footwear that is contributing to your chronic foot pain. Your shoes should look like the shape of a foot to allow for enough room for your toes to splay wide and breathe in your shoe. If your toes are cramped and pushed together in the shoe for several hours a day, then your shoes would be causing excess pressure on your joints, muscles and tendons of your foot and ankle. Trace the outline of your foot on a piece of paper and then trace your shoe overtop in a different color to see if they match.
Popular women’s shoes such as heels or even flats can cause so many foot problems especially when worn for many years. These shoes may be okay in very short periods of time, such as for a special occasion like a wedding or party, however, should not be the choice for your daily footwear.
See this picture below that shows two side by side x-rays of the same foot in a traditional shoe vs a shoe with a wide toe box.
Sometimes changing your footwear is not enough to allow your toes to resume their more natural position. You can purchase toe spacers that will help to reposition your toes while getting used to having more room in your shoes. You can wear them for small amounts of time initially and then gradually increase that time as your foot accommodates to being stretched and having more room in your shoes.
Physical Therapists who treat foot and ankle pain can also help guide you through this process and give you additional exercises or treatments that you would need to restore normal toe and foot alignment. Please contact Fusion Rehab and Wellness if you would like to see one of our Physical Therapists about your foot or ankle pain.
Blog Entry- Kristen VanderWijst PT, DPT
Resources for Purchasing Wide Toe Box Shoes and Toe Spacers: