Finding the perfect shoe

Mar 10, 2020 | Joey Keillor | @joeykeillor | Comments (16)

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As you age, changes to your body and feet can make foot pain more likely. This can make daily activities more difficult and even increase your risk of falling.

Much of managing and preventing foot pain can come down to proper footwear. Here are some common problems and solutions to help you find a perfect shoe:

Problem: Changing foot sizes: Your feet may change in size and shape, usually getting wider and longer.

Solution: Ask to have your foot measured — including the width — at a shoe store, keeping in mind that one foot can be slightly larger than the other, so you should buy for the larger foot. Wear the socks you would normally wear with the shoes, as this will affect the fit. Try shoes on near the end of the day when your feet are their largest.

Problem: Bumps or protrusions on feet: These can be caused by hammertoes, corns, bunions and bone spurs. Shoes that don’t fit properly can further irritate these problems by rubbing or pressing against them. Ill-fitting shoes, hammertoes and bunions can also cause pain at the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia).

Solution: The front of the shoe (toe box), should be roomy, with a half inch between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Never buy shoes that are too tight. You can also have shoes professionally stretched in areas of irritation. For metatarsalgia, metatarsal pads or cushions may help ease impact on the affected joint, as can appropriate footwear.

Problem: Poor shoe quality and selection: Shoes can be expensive, and it’s tempting to select a low-cost shoe that doesn’t fit great or provides minimal support. Wearing old, worn-out shoes that have quit providing support or tread grip can also be a problem in terms of foot health and safety.

Solution: When buying a shoe, opt for a stiff heel that doesn’t give way when pressing on it, a toe box that is semi-flexible, and a shoe that does not twist in the middle when you try to twist it.

Join the discussion at the Aging well support group. Let others know about shoes you love and how to keep your feet happy!

 

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I can relate to your issue. I'm not much of a shoe
connoisseur I usually will find something that works and I usually buy 2 at a time. I love using the BOGO 1/2 off sales. But my wife has issues like you. Shoe is a big walker and goes thru shoes quickly. When she's ready to resupply its usually an whole day event going store to store. Have a Blessed Day Dana

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I have lost 3 inches from bone loss. Now I have gone from a sz7 to sz 6 shoe. Anyone else have this happen? Very Odd!!

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Hi @cgthurin, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Check out the Group Directory https://connect.mayoclinic.org/groups/ and join in the discussions that interest you.

I haven't heard of feet shrinking from bone loss. More often feet get slight larger or wider as the arch weakens. I found this article from Everyday Health
– Are My Feet Shrinking? https://www.everydayhealth.com/specialists/arthritis/kitridou/qa/are-my-feet-shrinking/index.aspx

Do you have neuropathic joints (Charcot joints)? What shoes help?

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I just found out I have a chronic tear of the plantar plate of the second metatarsophalangeal joint, plus a hammertoe of that same toe, in addition to the beginning of a bunion, and moderate arthritis in the big toe. Any suggestions for good companies that specialize in orthotic shoes that would help with the problems I have.

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@mietzel

I just found out I have a chronic tear of the plantar plate of the second metatarsophalangeal joint, plus a hammertoe of that same toe, in addition to the beginning of a bunion, and moderate arthritis in the big toe. Any suggestions for good companies that specialize in orthotic shoes that would help with the problems I have.

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@mietzel– Hi. I'm up for some foot surgery on the 13th of August. I've never gone to a podiatrist before but he's already told me what I will need for footwear. Perhaps someone else will have ideas but your doctor should be a great source. The trouble is everyone's foot is so different that it's difficult to recommend what would fit you.

Have you considered having the bunions operated on? Was this suggested at all?

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@merpreb

@mietzel– Hi. I'm up for some foot surgery on the 13th of August. I've never gone to a podiatrist before but he's already told me what I will need for footwear. Perhaps someone else will have ideas but your doctor should be a great source. The trouble is everyone's foot is so different that it's difficult to recommend what would fit you.

Have you considered having the bunions operated on? Was this suggested at all?

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Thank you for your response. Right now my doctor gave a a Berg cushioned she to walk on for 3 weeks while we’re waiting to see if it heals. I was so overwhelmed last Friday when hearing all the bad news that I didn’t ask her about specific shoes. However, she did mention that since I have moderate arthrosis of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint, bunion surgery is not recommended.

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@mietzel

Thank you for your response. Right now my doctor gave a a Berg cushioned she to walk on for 3 weeks while we’re waiting to see if it heals. I was so overwhelmed last Friday when hearing all the bad news that I didn’t ask her about specific shoes. However, she did mention that since I have moderate arthrosis of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint, bunion surgery is not recommended.

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@mietze- Ah. Ok then those shoes look very comfortable. How do they feel?

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I should have proofread my reply! It is only one shoe/sandal made by Breg and is often used after bunion surgery. The problem is it’s a little higher than my other shoes. When walking I wear it on my right foot and a regular shoe on the left foot. Now, because one foot is slightly higher than the other, it’s throwing my entire body alignment off and I’m feeling other pains in my knee, back, and hip.

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@mietzel

I should have proofread my reply! It is only one shoe/sandal made by Breg and is often used after bunion surgery. The problem is it’s a little higher than my other shoes. When walking I wear it on my right foot and a regular shoe on the left foot. Now, because one foot is slightly higher than the other, it’s throwing my entire body alignment off and I’m feeling other pains in my knee, back, and hip.

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@mietzel– This happened to me when I broke my foot and I went along limping because of the difference in height. It will be much more comfortable if you wear a shoe that will balance the height.

Sending your body alignment off-kilter causes its own problems as you have experienced. why not wear the mate to the shoe that you have to wear?

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@mietzel

I should have proofread my reply! It is only one shoe/sandal made by Breg and is often used after bunion surgery. The problem is it’s a little higher than my other shoes. When walking I wear it on my right foot and a regular shoe on the left foot. Now, because one foot is slightly higher than the other, it’s throwing my entire body alignment off and I’m feeling other pains in my knee, back, and hip.

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@mietzel, I don't have the details (yet), but today my son is consulting with his doctor about an in-the-shoe cushion to compensate for the different leg length that could be affecting his balance. It was noticed by his PT.

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@merpreb

@mietzel– This happened to me when I broke my foot and I went along limping because of the difference in height. It will be much more comfortable if you wear a shoe that will balance the height.

Sending your body alignment off-kilter causes its own problems as you have experienced. why not wear the mate to the shoe that you have to wear?

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I was given only one shoe, 2 cushioned shoe inserts, and small cushioning pads during this 3 week rest of my foot to see if the tear will heal. I’m working with all of them right now to see which feels best. My question about shoes is for the future, since my situation is chronic, just in case there might be specific companies that people found were better than others. Thanks for your suggestions.

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@mietzel

I was given only one shoe, 2 cushioned shoe inserts, and small cushioning pads during this 3 week rest of my foot to see if the tear will heal. I’m working with all of them right now to see which feels best. My question about shoes is for the future, since my situation is chronic, just in case there might be specific companies that people found were better than others. Thanks for your suggestions.

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@mietzel, Your response is perfectly timed! We just got a text from son that tells us that he just needs to get a cushioned insert to match the height of the leg brace with a sole insert on the other foot! I am puzzled why the PT spinal cord doctor who ordered the insert did not mention that earlier in his recovery!
I am currently wearing a HOKA Recovery sandal that was recommended by my podiatrist last week. I have had pain in my heal since April, and attributed it to plantar fasciitis, I have been doing the stretches, the icing, and wearing a foot brace at night and it kept getting worse. So when he saw me he offerd me choice of injection or a short term topical application to reduce the inflammation. No meds due to my transplant medications.
I feel like I am walking on air. They have a high arch which he wants me to have. I found them locally and tried them on before purchasing. at a store that specializes in work boots and walking/running shoes. The owner told me that the nurses and teachers love the shoe version of my sandal. I don't know what you need for your foot, but I am going to try this brand for my next pair of walking shoes.
Have you asked your doctor about a brand or what to look for? Note: Go to a store where you can try them on and talk to someone who is knowledge about shoes. It is worth the extra money to be pain free.

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