Today, I'm going to talk to you about the importance of lacing your shoes properly. Unlike the early 1900s when we had shoes that went above the ankle and had a fastener with a button hook today all we have to do is put them on and tie our laces.

Well, what happens? Today people are at home a lot right now and they're wearing slippers and not getting into their shoes. Or they're getting into shoes and not tying their shoes. And nobody's bothered to check what they've been wearing or how long they've been wearing it.

So we've talked to you before about getting supportive shoes. Let's go into a few tips about how lacing can make a difference.

How Lacing Can Make a Difference

First of all, bothering to tie the shoes at all is really important. Lacing up the shoe, pulling from the toe box area all the way up, not just tying the top at first and then tying the shoe off. It goes a long way to helping keep the foot where it belongs and prevents the toes from jamming in front.

Next, the heel of the shoe is important and must be stable. Don't just kick off your shoes at night. Take the time to untie the laces, and then take the shoe off. I know it's kind of a pain, but guess what? We untie at night and the next morning they'll be ready to put back on again.

lacing for morton's neuromaHow to Lace Your Shoes for Pain In the Front of Your Foot

All right, let's go to some specifics about the lacing. Sometimes people come in with foot problems in front of the foot with things such as Morton's neuroma, a pinched nerve in the front of the foot. I found that for that while it's being treated, skipping the lace up towards the toe and starting one notch further back will allow more expansion for the front of the shoe and a little less pressure on the front of the foot and that neuroma.

lacing for the high arched footHow to Lace Your Shoes for Pain On Top of Your Foot

If you're having trouble with the top of your foot as happens with a high arched foot, and the top is rubbing on the shoe and gets irritable when you tie the shoe properly, then you need to change the lacing. The change that can help is by starting at the bottom. And then instead of crisscrossing every eyelet go up one first, then crossover, up one and then over one. Doing that you could see you end up with less crisscrosses and less pressure across the instep.

The nerves of the feet, the sensory nerves are very close to the skin and you don't want to compress them. And just from shoe laces being too tight across that foot type, it caused constant irritation and temporary numbness in the foot.


lacing for slipping heelsHow to Lace Your Shoes If  Your Foot Slips Forward

Finally, we have the issue of the foot that slips forward too much. And besides just tying the laces two alternatives can help keep the foot further back in the shoe. One, is to add a pad over the tongue of the shoe on the inside to help hold your foot back. These felt tongue pads can be purchased online.

If that alone isn't enough, or if the pad is bothersome instead, just in terms of the lacing, is to use the extra eyelet at the top of the shoe to form a loop. Instead of just being tied, put the laces through the loop on each side. And when this is pulled, it gives extra security at the top of the shoe and will help hold your foot back in that shoe.

So with these simple measures, you can take your feet and keep them healthier. During this time, when we may be walking a lot more than usual, and now that summer's approaching and the parks are opening up, getting back out there on our trails, on our bicycles, doing all the activities we want to do using these feet more, keep your feet happy, keep them healthy and stay safe.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.