By Deny Dallaire, B.Sc., C.Ped(C)

Just about everyone has heard the saying: “If the shoe fits, wear it.” However, let’s face it – it isn’t always the case. We have all owned shoes at one point in our lives that we loved to wear because they looked good, but didn’t actually feel good. When it comes to some types of foot pain though, the culprit is often the fit of the shoe itself. Therefore here are two pointers to keep in mind when buying your next pair of shoes.

Anyone who purchased shoes in the 1970s will remember the sales clerk measuring their feet with a funny looking contraption. That “contraption” is called a Brannock Device and it takes three measurements: (1) The measurement from your heel to your longest toe, (2) the measurement of the width of the widest part of your foot and most importantly, (3) the measurement from your heel to the big toe joint (where your big toe attaches to your foot).

While all three measurements are important, the last one (a.k.a. heel to ball measurement) can often make the different between walking in pain or walking in comfort. If the big toe joint (ball) is too far forward or too far back, the shoe will eventually hurt you because the shoe is designed to bend at its widest part. And it’s in the widest part of the shoe that the ball of your foot should sit. Improper ball alignment will lead to pinching and discomfort. Therefore when trying on a pair of shoes, you should make sure the ball of your foot, aligns with the widest part of the shoe. It is as simple as feeling with your hand where the big toe joint is sitting in the shoe when you have it on.

Lastly, all shoes are cut differently, depending on the style, manufacturer or even the model number. Moreover, not all feet are made the same either. And yes like other parts of the body, the feet can change over time. While it may be tempting to want to buy that fancy pair of shoes on the shelf, a good rule of thumb before you purchase them is to look at the shape of your foot and then look at the shape of the shoe. If they aren’t even close to being similar, chances are, that shoe will not fit right.

If you have trouble finding shoes that fit properly, contact one of the Canadian Certified Pedorthists at Thera-Ped Foot & Ankle Clinic and book a footwear consultation.

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