Should I Be Wearing Orthopedic Shoes?

Should I Be Wearing Orthopedic Shoes?

The perception of orthopedic shoes has changed over time and is no longer limited to the traditional, unattractive designs that people associate with older relatives. In reality, orthopedic shoes encompass a diverse range of footwear that cater to various foot conditions and include options such as over-the-counter, custom-made, sneakers, and dress shoes.

Gone are the days of unflattering black leather orthopedic shoes, as advancements in design have resulted in more aesthetically appealing options that cater to a wider range of ages and fashion preferences.

What do Orthopedic Shoes Entail?

Orthopedic shoes refer to any type of footwear that provides support to feet with altered mechanics, decreased sensation, or deformities. They come in a wider range of sizes, particularly width, and can be tailored to an individual's specific requirements. This customization is carried out by specialists known as pedorthotists, who not only modify shoes but also create inserts and braces for those who need them. The more abnormal the foot mechanics or severe the deformity, the higher the likelihood of needing customized orthopedic shoes.

However, it's worth noting that not all orthopedic shoes are custom-made. Many people simply require shoes that cater to their unique foot shape or size. When it comes to shoes, comfort and fit are key, which is why I often advise my patients to try on several options before making a final decision. Not every shoe that works for someone else may be suitable for you, so it's important to take your time and evaluate different options. When introducing a new shoe, it's important to take it slow to prevent any injury or discomfort.

Why are Orthopedic Shoes Needed?

Our feet serve as the foundation of our bodies, similar to how a foundation supports a house. Just like an uneven or altered foundation can affect a building or street, it can also impact the human body causing pain and affecting the way we walk. Orthopedic shoes help to counteract these effects, providing comfort and support to individuals with various lower leg and foot conditions. These include:

-Swollen Feet or Lymphedema
-Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Pain, and Heel Spurs
-Flat and High-Arched Feet
-Bunions and Hammertoes
-Diabetes, Diabetic Ulcers, and Charcot Disease
Additionally, orthopedic shoes are also important for individuals who wear custom braces that require shoes of different sizes or width on one foot.

The Benefits of Orthopedic Shoes

Orthopedic shoes work by aligning the feet and reducing pressure on areas that are under stress, such as a collapsed arch, an arthritic joint, or a diabetic ulcer or callus. A well-aligned foot has three points that rest evenly on the ground, providing balance and stability. Orthopedic shoes, in combination with orthotic insoles, can help distribute weight evenly across the foot, reducing pain and discomfort in affected areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, most adults aim to take 10,000 steps per day to maintain good health. However, for those with foot and ankle issues, even 10,000 steps can be a painful challenge. Orthopedic shoes can improve mobility, resulting in a higher quality of life for those living with foot pain.

If you are experiencing foot problems, it is important to seek the advice of an orthopedist, primary doctor, or podiatrist. They can refer you to a pedorthotist who can help you find the right type of shoes for your needs. Custom shoes and inserts may not be necessary for every patient, but it is important to know what to look for when shopping online, especially with the availability of stylish orthopedic shoe options.

Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if orthopedic shoes are right for you.
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