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Footwear, just how important is it?

As well as examining the feet of Norfolk people, we as podiatrists ensure we look at the whole person and not just the hole in the person!  
Footwear is always checked during appointments and we often have patients ask, “what is right for my feet?”  
One common error is wearing whatever feels comfortable. Patients are often seen wearing slip on shoes with flat soles, mistakenly thinking they are good due to lack of discomfort. BUT slip on shoes don’t offer any support to our feet.  
Whilst several studies have shown an increase in musculature activity whilst running barefoot and minimalist shoe wear such as flat shoes. This is not the case for elderly patients who don’t exercise as vigorously as they might have at one stage in their life!  
As we age, naturally the soles of our feet become thin over time. This in the podiatry world is described as fat pad atrophy. With this picture below making it clearer.   

When we use any type of slip-on footwear, (from slipper to outdoor shoe), the foot works harder to keep the footwear in place. This in turn puts extra tension on our intrinsic muscles which run across the soles of our feet.  
Notably, in slippers people tend to shuffle instead of walking, which creates even more stress in the soles. 

SO, WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Quite simply a trainer. The trainer is key to comfort and support. Not to mention there is a style for everyone, from subtle and smart, to loud and lavish. Most trainers feature a good heel structure along with arch support and widened toe box, meaning they can benefit most people.  

Whilst trainers are widely regarded as supportive footwear, we understand not everyone likes the look of them or feels they are suitable for everyday use. But have no fear, there are other options available. Shoes which offer a good retaining medium such as laces or velcro, mean our foot doesn’t have to work harder to keep the shoe in place. This feature combined with arch support and widened toe box can also be good.  

                                                                              

           

 

Our feet serve us well throughout our lifetime and take a fair pounding in the process. 
 Why not treat yourself and your feet the next you are out shopping.  

Christopher Park, Podiatrist, Randell’s Footcare