shoe shopping tips for women with painful foot conditionsMany women are plagued by painful foot conditions. Along with treatment at your podiatrist's office, buying the right shoes can make all the difference. Although some of us would love to wear sky high heels because they look so good, for many this option will only cause pain and suffering in the short and long term. And they're particularly bad if you're already suffering from pain caused by bunions, hammertoes, or a painful neuroma. High heels will only worsen these conditions.

Getting to know your foot type and your own physical limitations will help you make good shoe shopping decisions. Your feet have to last you a lifetime, so one of the key steps to treating them well is getting the right shoe for your foot type and for your lifestyle.

Here are some other critical things to consider when shopping for shoes:

Get Your Feet Measured

It’s not uncommon for women to buy the same size shoes they have always worn. But that can be a mistake. As we age, our feet do get longer and may get wider. That's because many of us gain weight as we get older. Pregnancy can also cause our feet to expand in size due to rapid weight gain. Even after delivery that foot size increase can remain.

That's why getting your feet measured is crucial before buying new shoes. Keep in mind, there should be at least an index finger of width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Buy Shoes to Fit Your Longer Foot

Most of us have one foot that is slightly longer than the other. Since most people can’t afford to buy two pairs of shoes, choose the larger size so that you don’t cramp your toes. You can always pad the foot that is shorter for a better fit.

Shop for Shoes at the End of the Day

Our feet swell as the day goes on. Although you may be tempted to hit that shoe sale early in the day, wait until the afternoon to get the right fit.

Choose Heels of One Inch or Less

Many women love their heels, but unfortunately they can cause many foot and ankle problems that often get worse over time such as bunions and hammertoes. If you insist on wearing heels higher than an inch, don’t wear them all the time.

Avoid Flat, Flat Shoes

The latest craze is the ballet flat. If you stand on your feet all day and have the tendency toward developing plantar fasciitis or heel pain, flat, flat shoes will only hasten the development of this condition.

Buy Shoes With a Large Toe Box

Although you may be thinking how unfashionable, not all shoes with a large toe box need to look like your Grandma’s. Naot’s, Clarks, Dansko, and Keen all make shoes that will look good and give your toes space at the same time.

Choose A Supportive Shoe

It's important for everyone to buy a supportive shoe. Shoes with no support may be fine for very casual wear (little or no walking) or for people with no foot problems or a normal foot type but most of us are going to need a shoe that can go the extra mile. To test out shoes before you purchase them visit my video "How To Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Select the Right Shoe for Your Foot Type

Foot type is another thing to consider when buying a pair of shoes.

Foot Width

Your foot width is one aspect of your foot type. Not all shoes will accommodate a particularly wide or narrow foot. Nordstrom and other specialty stores can be a big help if you have either of these foot types.

Arch Type

Arch type is also important to take into account when purchasing shoes. Arch types are either normal, high, flat or somewhere in between.You're fortunate if you have a normal arch. You'll still need supportive shoes but not to the same degree as someone who has flat feet.

High Arches

People with high arches tend to supinate or roll their feet out as they walk. Foot problems that can arise from this foot type are hammertoes and metatarsalgia. Often woman will seek out a high heeled shoe because initially they'll feel more comfortable. However, high heels put more pressure on the ball of the foot which can cause worsen problems like metatarsalgia and cause other's like Morton's neuroma. The best shoes for high arches are ones with a lot of flexibility, a firm heel counter, and ankle support when hiking or playing a sport with lots of motion changes.

Flat Feet or No Arches

People with flat feet tend to be most at risk for multiple foot conditions. Flat feet pronate or roll in when walking or running. Foot conditions that arise as a result of flat feet are heel pain, bunions, and hammertoes. Even young children can develop a condition called Developmental Flat Foot between ages four and five. Buying shoes with an arch and avoiding flat shoes are important for people with flat feet. Running shoes usually have a good arch and some shoe companies make shoes with good arches, i.e. Dansko. Most people with flat feet will require additional arch supports to prevent their feet from pronating and causing other foot problems.

Select the Right Shoe for Your Activity

Equally as important as getting the right shoe for your foot type is purchasing the right shoe for the type of activity you engage in. Whether you walk around Greenlake, run 10Ks at races, play soccer or another sport it's essential to buy the shoe that will best support your feet and are designed for your particular sport or activity.

Shoes designed shoes for the sports you play are available for purchase. Shoe companies design these shoes to help promote better play and prevent foot and ankle injuries. It's best to purchase these types of shoes at a store that specializes in that activity. A knowledgeable sales person can make a big difference in ensuring you buy a shoe that works best for you and your sport. For example, in the blog I wrote called How to Buy the Best Running Shoes I go into detail about what a good salesperson should be asking you.

Select the Right Shoe for Your Foot Condition

As mentioned above, certain foot types can put a person at greater risk for a particular foot condition. While it's important to choose the right shoe for your foot type it's also a good idea to purchase the right shoe for your foot condition. For example, if you're prone to plantar fasciitis it will be important to purchase supportive shoes that will prevent your foot from pronating.

If you have bunions or hammertoes, you'll want to avoid shoes with a higher heel as these can worsen your condition. In addition, you'll want to find shoes that have a roomier toe box and/or are made out of flexible leather or cloth to prevent pain caused by friction.

People with diabetes may need to purchase special diabetic comfort shoes to decrease the chance of developing foot ulcers.

Buy Shoes That Will Work With Your Orthotics

Fortunately there are a lot of shoe companies that now make shoes with removable foot beds that will work with orthotics and are fashionable at the same time. Kristin Borrink runs a website called Barking Dog Shoes . She provides shoe suggestions for specific foot problems. A store that I highly recommend is Sole Perfection; the store is located in Fremont, Shoreline, and Everett. The owners are fantastic to work with and can make recommendations for your particular foot situation and orthotics.

If you're experiencing any foot pain, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

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