Footwear and Orthotics

Footwear and orthotics

A well planned and solid foundation will create a good base for a house, same goes for our bodies. That is why equipping your feet with maximum support is vital.  Choosing the right pair of shoes can be a difficult and tedious task, which can be further complicated by orthotics. Having the right orthotics, however, is just half of the battle. Even our custom-made orthotics cannot be fully effective without the right shoes.

Orthotics, also called orthoses, are devices that are worn to correct foot and ankle problems without surgery. They come in different materials and depending on the foot problem the device may leave the shoes a little bit tight.


Why is it important to wear well fitted shoes?

Your feet carry the weight of your whole body, so therefore without proper support you could suffer with pains and aches that could potentially cascade upwards leading to:

  • Back pain
  • Hip and Knee pain
  • Joint wear ( osteoarthritis)
  • Muscular tightness

Those are just a few complications that may arise.

So what is a general good shoe?

Aim to find a shoe that is either lace up or Velcro strap, this provides the foot more adjustability. Stability- the shoes’ heel support / heel cup should be soft and stable, preventing vertical or horizontal heel movement. Keep the shoes in a good condition by monitoring your footwear and discard shoes that are too worn-down, as these have often lost some of their basic functions. Continuing to run in worn-out running shoes increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can lead to overuse injuries. It is suggested that a pair of running shoes should be changed every 500 to 650 kilometers (300-400 miles).

What makes the best orthotic friendly shoe?

Orthotic-friendly shoes should first and foremost, have removable insoles so they could easily be replaced by orthotics. Other qualities to look for in orthotic friendly shoes include:

A stable base that will not easily twist

  • A firm mid-sole
  • Firm heel counter – the heel counter (back of the shoe) must not bend inward easily
  • Wide toe box (choose them over shoes with a pointy toe box)
  • Foot bed that follows the foot’s natural contours
  • Breathable materials to help keep the foot dry and infection-free
  • Smooth interiors to avoid scratching the skin
  • Have enough flexibility in the toe area

Shoes to avoid

Life would be a mould if we wore sensible shoes all the time, as life has many events the odd stiletto, flip flops or ballet flats wearing can’t be helped.  However for long periods of times, these type of foot wear should be worn minimally.

  • Ballet flats popular among young women

Shoes that are too flat don’t provide adequate arch support, which is especially an issue for those with flat feet. Furthermore, as the soles are often very thin, they provide insufficient shock absorption. The force from the ground is directly transferred onto the soles of your feet, which can lead to discomfort in prolonged walking.

  • High heels

Wearing heels shifts your weight to your forefoot, which increases the pressure to this area and typically leads to forefoot pain. High heels also create a balance problem; as you force your knees and hips forward, it may lead to pain and discomfort in your back and legs.

Wearing high heels also increases the risk of developing nerve impingements, bunions and hammer toes. Such problems can often be permanent and may require surgical correction

  • Flip flops

Podiatrists will tell you that flip-flops are too flat, too thin and too open and can lead to many foot problems. They should thus be avoided in case of prolonged walking because they offer very little to no arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption. This type of shoe can accelerate the problems associated with having a flat foot.

Furthermore, the thong that sits between your toes can also be dangerous as it forces your toe muscles to over-grip, which may lead to an overuse injury. These injuries may lead to toe deformities such as hammer toes or claw toes. Podiatrists see these issues on

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