Correct footwear is one of the few areas in which you as an individual can improve your health outcomes. Knowing the difference between good and bad footwear can reduce your risk of injury to feet and falling.

If shoes are too big

If your shoes are too big your feet will have to work harder to keep the shoe on and may step out of the shoe. This increases the risk of trips and falls.

Heeled shoes

Wear a low-heeled shoe, heels should be no more than 1.5 cm.

A high heel means all the weight is thrown forwards onto the ball of the foot. This cramps the toes.
Shock absorbency of the foot is affected. Strain is placed on joints and ligaments.

If you have worn high heeled shoes for several years reducing heel height may pull on your calves at first, as over time the muscle at the back of your calf will have shortened, this will soon go as the muscle lengthens again – gentlestretching exercises may help.

Toe box

Wear rounded or square toed footwear to allow room for toes with enough depth.

Narrow toed or pointed shoes squeeze the toes together irritating the delicate skin between and on top of toes causing corns to form. Deformity can occur over a long period of time. This style of shoe is often found in combination with high heels.

Fastenings

The shoe should be fastened onto the foot close to the front of the ankle, by a lace, velcro or elastic strap. This allows the shoe to have more width at the front.

A slip-on shoe is too tight for your foot, otherwise you would step out of the shoe when stepping forwards. Without fastenings the shoe is not held onto the foot, the toes will claw to keep the shoe on the foot and the foot works harder to keep the shoe in place.

Heel cup

If there is no heel cup, this means that the shoe is not held on the foot correctly and the foot works hard to keep the shoe in place.

“Flip flop” style shoes and “strappy” sandals are not held on your feet. If there is no heel cup or strap around the back of your heel, then your toes claw to keep the shoe on.

Sole

Look for a cushioned sole, this allows for shock absorption and support, a hard, thin sole increases the impact on the foot.

Slippers

Exactly the same rules that apply for shoes apply for slippers. Indoor shoes/trainers are as good as slippers. Remember that if you spend a lot of time indoors, then your slippers are your most important pair of “shoes”.

Consult a podiatrist for advice

The podiatry administration office can be contacted on 01274 221165.

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