September 2010 – Patient Sympathy

August 2010 – Back to School Shoewear

July 2010 – Womens Shoewear

June 2010 – Summer Foot Care

May 2010 – Skin

April 2010 – Ingrown Toenails

March 2010 – Barefoot Running

February 2010 – Pediatric Flatfoot

January 2010 – Being a Compliant Patient

December 2009 – Raynaud’s Disease

November 2009 – NA

October 2009 – Shin Splints

September 2009 – Dealing with Corns and Callouses

August 2009 – Relieving Painful Gout

July 2009 – Caring for Plantar Warts

June 2009 – Bunions

May 2009 – Children's Heel Pain

March/April 2009 – Heel Pain

February 2009 – Shoe Fitting

January 2009 – Nail Fungus

December 2008 – Neuroma

November 2008 – Diabetic Foot Care


February 2009

Published in - Healthy Lifestyles

In the next few weeks, most of us will begin to gear up for spring weather. With the advent of each new spring season comes the inevitable slew of those who have either not exercised at all, or very little, over the winter months. I am not judging, not by any means. However, I would like to warn those that begin exercising ever so vigorously, to just keep your feet in mind. Please, please, please take care of your feet while putting them through the torture you have planned for them. If you happen to have an old pair that you’re planning on pulling out of the closet, shaking off and throwing on to go for a jog keep in mind they may not fit as you remember. Or, if you plan on trying a new arena of exercising or sport, such as cycling, hiking or aerobics please purchase a new pair of sport-specific sneaker. Your feet will love you for it.

If and when you do seek to purchase a new pair of sneakers, make certain that they have adequate room across the forefoot or, toe box. This is typically the widest part of your foot and needs to have enough room for the foot to spread when stepping down and propulsing forward during walking, running or for that matter, during step class. What I do with my sneakers and boots when I first get them is to remove all the laces. I do not lace up the first two sets of eyelets nearest my toes at the tip of the sneaker. I begin about the third eyelet up. This allows the front of the sneaker to open up wider so as to accommodate the spreading of the toes during propulsion (push off) or side to side movements. This may feel or sound strange at first but once you get used to the feeling, you’ll never lace your shoewear the same way again.

A good way to check to make certain that the shoe will accommodate your foot is to place the sneaker on the floor and with the socks you would typically wear, step on the floor next to the sneaker. If there is an obvious difference in the width of the two (usually the foot) the shoe/ sneaker is most likely too narrow for your foot type. Also, there really shouldn’t be any “breaking in” of sneakers, or shoes for that matter. And, yes, you should purchase all shoewear at the end of the day because of the fact most people’s feet will be larger in the late afternoon and evening. Why is that, you ask? Gravity. Yep, just ask Sir Isaac Newton. Gravity works on apples and fluids alike, pulling both towards the ground.

A few years back I thought of a research project that I could conduct on my own in my office. It would be nothing earth-shattering but it could shed some light on why so many people have any number of foot problems. The seemingly simple question I will occasionally ask a patient is this, “What size shoe are you?” Almost 9 out of 10 times the patient will be wrong. That’s not possible, you say. You can’t tell me that most people don’t know their own size shoe/ sneaker. I know, I know everyone has been wearing the same size shoe since high school. No one has gained any weight or has been pregnant since their teen years. Therein lies the problem.

Well, if you’ve had a baby, your foot most likely has gotten at least a little larger. Trust me on this. My wife just had a baby and there are about 200 pairs of shoes, very nice ones I might add, in her closet, none of which she can wear. And yes, she is back down to her pre-pregnant weight. Look for a clearance sale sometime soon so I can pay for the 400 diapers my little one goes through each day. Forgive me, I digress.

Okay, back to the point at hand. Or, foot (sorry). Shoes, sneakers, cleats, hiking boots or work boots, for that matter, should fit well while you’re in the store trying them on. Make certain that you’re wearing the socks you intend to wear for that specific activity. A good rule of thumb is to wear them around the house for a week or so. This way, if you feel you need to ‘break them in’ you can do so in the comfort of your own home and you’d be able to really ascertain whether they do indeed fit perfectly. No cleats, please. I don’t want to hear from any angry parents who now have holes in their vinyl or hardwood flooring.

If the sneaker has an extra set of eyelets at the top near the tongue, I lace the final ones using the “bunny ear” method. I have no idea where I heard or learned of this lacing technique, but it helps to snug up the sneaker around the ankle. It sounds like something I’ll be teaching my daughter in a few years. This is also ideal for those with narrow heels and the shoe feels as if is a bit too loose in the back. This also helps keep your foot from “pistoning” in your shoe if it’s a tad too large.

Also, keep in mind if you have an OTC insert or custom orthotic that needs to be placed into your shoewear, you need to have them with you when purchasing footwear. I have been using custom orthotics for the past 20 years for certain knee and foot issues, and never have I tried on a new pair of anything without the orthotics in them. Okay, there was that one time but I ended up wasting money on a great pair of Timberland boots because I thought I was a size 8 ½, just like in high school. I just didn’t understand it, it was way too small and I’ve never even been pregnant.