Why Shoe Fit Matters Even For Non-Deformed Feet

Jenny L Sanders DPM

Every podiatrist understands the relationship between poorly fitting shoes and foot deformity. Many of us routinely order diabetic shoes, extra-depth shoes and sometimes even casts for custom molded shoes for the deformed foot. For the non-deformed foot, we simply rely on an “approved shoe list” or a “specialty running shoe store” to which we send our patients.

Few of us actually take the time to understand and research shoes for the non-deformed foot. Mark Reeves, DPM, of the Virginia Mason Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, is an exception. He taught me, as well as hundreds of other podiatrists and students, about the need for a shoe to have a firm heel counter, an inflexible forefoot and torsional stability. However, it seems that for most of us, this is where our knowledge ends.

We do not know the difference between a shoe’s upper and lower. We are not familiar with any brand of shoes that are not approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association or the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. We do not know what a Brannock device is, much less how to differentiate heel-to-ball from heel-to-toe.

In 2007, I started a shoe blog (http://drshoe.wordpress.com) for the aforementioned reasons. More and more, I was discovering that it did not matter if my patient was a sponsored triathlete or a young woman who has to wear high heels at work everyday. One thing became crystal clear. Without the right shoe, the best treatment plan or orthotic in the world wouldn’t help.

My goal for this DPM Blog for Podiatry Today is to provide a foundation, which will help you become an invaluable resource to your patients in directing them to finding shoes that fit.

Next month, I will be tackling the question of why size matters. Stay tuned.

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