Friday, April 29, 2011

7 easy tips to find the perfect shoe fit

When purchasing a pair shoe one of the most difficult task is deciding whether the shoe fits properly. It is not only key to preventing future foot problems, but can also help with recurring foot pain. A common source of foot pain is due to improper fitting shoe. Following a few basic guidelines a person can ensure properly fitting shoe for the average foot.
  1. Shop for shoes at the end of the day. Feet swell and are a different size at the end of the day. The way a person’s shoe fits in the morning may differ later in the day.
  2. Try on the shoe in the store and have your foot measured. Shoes should be comfortable in the store before purchase. An uncomfortable shoe in the store will be one outside the store. People do not grow into shoes. Before a shoe size is decided, each foot should be measured with the person in the standing position. Shoe sizes have various between brand and size selection should be based on foot measurement. Foot sizes tends to change with age and important to asses before each purchase.
  3. Make sure there is a “3/8 to1/2” inch from the longest toe to the end of the shoe and 1/8 inch from the back of the heel counter and the heel. Shoes that are too big or too small can increase pressures on the foot and lead to corns and calluses
  4. Buy shoes that match the natural shape of your foot. The shoe should allow adequate room for the arch and different contours of a person’s foot. 
  5. Make sure there is adequate room in the shoe’s toe box or ball of your foot. Your toes play a large part in proper foot function and need adequate room to perform their task.
  6. Buy the right shoe for the right job. All shoes are not made to perform the same task. Make sure to purchase a walking shoe for walking and a basketball shoe for playing basketball. Shoe manufactures design shoes for specific uses, to use a shoes outside their design can lead to injury.
  7. Take your shoe for a test drive in the store. It is important to try on both shoes and take them for a test drive.  A properly fitting shoe should feel good when walking around in them. The test drive should be the deciding factor for shoe purchase. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is a bunion?

Bunions or referred to by physicians hallux abducto valgus (HAV) is a common foot deformity. Patients with this condition complain of pain around their big toe when wearing certain shoes, especially snug fitting shoes, or during physical activities, such as walking or running.  Mild bunion deformities can be treated with conservative care such as pads or foot orthotics, however more severe deformities or bunions that do not respond to conservative care are treated surgically.  There are different causes to why bunions occur, many of which are unproven. Nonetheless, they are functionally debilitating and cosmetically deforming to most people. 
How a bunion looks:
The classic bunion deformity presents with a bump on the side of the big toe with the big toe positioned closer to the second toe. The bump on the side of the toe is an overgrowth of bone and inflamed tissue. People with bunions have pain on the side of their big toe. Some will have pain on the bottom of their foot also. However, most pain is associated with the big toe due to snug fitting shoe gear. Shoes with narrow toe boxes or shoes made out of stiff material such as leather will often irritate the site of the deformity. Shoe gear of this type often leads to constant rubbing and irritation that causes the bump on the side of the toe to become painful, swollen, and inflamed.  Usually, pain in the first toe as a whole is due to improper positioning of the big toe, causing poor foot biomechanics and ultimately resulting pain the first toe.
Exact cause:
The exact causes of bunion deformities are unknown. Some of the many etiologies of bunion foot deformities are: genetic disorders, history of shoe gear with a tight toe box, neuromuscular diseases, family history, and biomechanical foot problems. The two most common accepted causes by most physicians are history of shoe gear with a tight toe box and improper foot biomechanics. Shoes gear is thought to be the cause of bunion, because HAV deformities are most common in women. In addition, bunion foot deformities are not common in barefoot population and in historical time periods before snug fitting shoes. Improper foot biomechanics is the universal cause accepted by most doctors, because surgical repair of bunion deformities often requires the restoration of proper foot biomechanical to reduce the bunion deformity.
Early conservative care of bunions are often symptomatic treatment. Functional foot orthotics can be helpful in early conditions improving the biomechanics of the foot. Pads and other cushion devices are also helpful to prevent the toe from shoe irritation. However for moderate to severe bunions, surgery is the most often the only corrective process of repairing a bunion deformity. These deformities actually cause a remodeling of the joint leading to changes in the function of the joint. The surgical process of correcting a bone is breaking and repositioning the bone and correcting the muscle imbalance in the foot. 
Bunions are cosmetically and can be functionally debilitating foot deformities. HAV are not only common, but are very treatable. If you are suffering from a bunion see a podiatrist.