The shoes you wear every day are more than a fashion statement. Your footwear is what protects and cushions one of the hardest working parts of your body: your feet. That’s why the type of shoes you wear and how well they fit are crucial.
Each step you take does more than simply support the weight of your body and its movement. Your steps also pack a force of two to three times your body weight. That’s a lot of work for one of your body’s most complex “machines.” Together each foot and ankle include 26 bones — a fourth of the bones in your body.
“The feet are supposed to go on forever, and yet they work harder and under worse conditions than most everything,” say Beaufort Memorial board-certified podiatrists Drs. Michael Edwards and Trent Statler.
And according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS), all that stress and pressure day after day can lead to painful problems that areexacerbated by ill-fitting or worn-out footwear. Your feet are susceptible to bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and more.
When you shop for new shoes, there are a lot of considerations. The AOFAS suggests trying these shoe-shopping tips on for size:
- Have your feet measured to ensure a proper fit. People’s feet change all the time.
- Skip shoes that need to be broken in. If shoes don’t fit when you try them on, don’t buy them.
- Most people’s feet aren’t identical. When trying on new shoes, try the shoes on both feet. Go with what fits your larger foot.
- Your feet swell throughout the day, so what’s OK in the morning can be agonizing by afternoon. For a better fit, shop later in the day when your feet are larger.
- Be sure to try on new shoes with the socks or hosiery you’ll wear with them. Bring some along for shoe shopping to ensure you buy the best size.
- Stand up and make sure there is 3/8" or 1/2" (about the width of your finger) between your longest toe (usually the second toe) and the end of the shoe.
- Stand and walk around in the shoes to make sure they’re comfortable and don’t chafe or rub your feet. Your heel should be settled, not slipping or sliding while your walk.
Even after you find the right shoes, remember they will wear down over time. Shoes take a beating — some more than others — so replace the ones you wear most often especially if they’ve lost their support or spring. That’s usually after six months to a year of regular use.
When your feet hurt, treat them to the rest they deserve. If you’re experiencing leg pain, get to the bottom of it with help from Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Learn about causes, tips and treatments for leg pain.