We can be pretty hard on them, especially during the summer months. Brooke Evans-butler reports.
Did you stock up on gorgeous new shoes in the new year sales? If you are trying to break in your new shoe collection, or if you are nursing new blisters, chances are you didn’t make a “feet-friendly” choice.
According to Theresa Miller, podiatrist, director and spokeswoman for Podiatry WA, choosing the right footwear is important, not only for comfort, but for overall foot health.
“Each foot is made of 26 bones, which are supported by a series of muscles and ligaments,” she says.
“Our feet support all the weight of our body and keep us moving.
“Feet are essential for mobility, shock absorption as well as stability.
“It's important our feet are well supported and protected, so shoes play a vital role in this.”
Dr Miller says signs you have not been wearing the right shoes include blisters, corns, calluses, bruising, swelling, and damaged toenails, as well as pain, burning and numbness.
Choosing the right shoe
Rachel Timmins, principal podiatrist at The Foot Pod Podiatry Clinic, says a shoe must be the right size (not just the right length) so ensuring the right width and depth for your foot is important.
The Foot Pod Podiatry’s Scarborough clinic has a shoe shop and clients can be expertly fitted for shoes and may also be directed to orthotic options.
“A lot of people forget to check if the shoe is the right depth, especially around the toe box area, where the toe sits,” she says. “You can go to somewhere like the Athlete’s Foot or Paul Carroll Shoes, where you can get professionally fitted. You can also see your podiatrist for advice about getting the right fit.”
Dr Timmins adds there are some checks you can do to help ensure you are getting a good, sturdy shoe:
1. Hold the shoe at the front and the back and try bending the shoe. It should only bend at the toes – the rest of the shoe should be sturdy.
2. Holding the shoe the same way, do a lateral twist (try to twist the length of the shoe). It there is a lot of twist, the shoe might not give sufficient stability.
3. With your thumb, push the heel counter (the back of the shoe). It should be solid and not move.
“If you are playing sport, it is also important to choose the right shoe for the right sport,” she says.
“Don’t wear tennis shoes to go running. This is because cushioning will be in different spots in different shoes and if you choose the wrong shoe, the shock absorption will be in the wrong place to give the support that is needed.”
Dr Miller says in summer it’s natural to want to wear a lighter and more open shoe, but this means less protection, which can lead to trauma (such as cuts), developing calluses and excessively dry skin in unprotected areas.
“The skin of the feet is the thickest skin on the body, it more easily dries out, often resulting in painful cracks or splits,” she says.
“Another problem that we regularly see as a result of wearing light unsupportive shoes is foot strain.
“This can be from clawing of toes to keep thongs on or collapsing of the foot arches to due to thin, flat shoes.
“The best way to avoid these types of problems in summer is to limit amount of time spent in unsupportive shoes. Thongs are perfect for the beach or pool but not so good for walking around the shopping centre for hours.”