Orthopedic shoes may not be for everyone. Sometimes a simple tweak in the shoes you currently wear is all you need. However, they can also provide long-sought relief from pain and regained mobility for those with significant foot issues. The decision regarding when to buy orthopedic shoes is a personal one that depends on many factors. You and your podiatrist should take the time to discuss what you need and whether or not getting a pair of these specialized pieces of footwear will be beneficial to you.
Are Orthopedic Shoes Right For You?
Orthopedic shoes are custom-made for a unique individual. They can be very costly and it is a great commitment to wear them. Before you take the plunge, you should make sure that it is in your best interest to invest your time and money. If you have a serious foot condition that is causing you pain, you may benefit from custom shoes. Orthopedic shoes will offer you superior cushioning and increased interior volume, providing space for double insoles or extra padding wherever needed. You may be able to find these qualities in other shoes found in stores; however, for people with very serious foot conditions or diabetes, we often recommend special shoes.
Before you decide to spend all that money on custom-made shoes, get properly fitted first. Having a pair of shoes that really fits your feet can make all the difference. Too often we get caught up by a specific size we think we have, but this number is arbitrary and can vary from shoe to shoe. You should get professionally fitted several times a year, or at least every time you buy a new pair of shoes. Your feet swell throughout the day, so the best time to get fitted is at night when they’re at their largest. Many people don’t realize that one foot is usually bigger than the other, too, so get both feet measured and buy a pair to fit your larger foot.
Try on your shoes with the socks you will be using for the activity you will be doing. Socks can make a difference in shoe fit, so using little stockings won’t give you an actual idea of how your shoes will feel.
What to Look for in A Pair of Shoes
If you do decide to go the orthopedic shoe route, there are some components that your footwear should possess. You will want your shoes to have a firm heel counter, a wide toe box to prevent your toes from bunching together, a removable inner sole, a long vamp, and a moderately large heel to absorb shock. You may also desire a hook-and-loop closure so that you can adjust as needed. If you have bunions, you may need a spandex upper so that your feet aren’t forced to fit into a shoe where they have no room. Rubber outsoles may help avoid slips and can be very helpful for elderly patients. Padding in the tongue and collar can prevent skin irritation. These and more are the many qualities that a good orthopedic shoe should have.
Getting the Help You Need
For more information about orthopedic shoes, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in any of our area offices.