Podiatrist and spokesperson for the Podiatry Association of SA (PASA), Nelfrie Kemp discusses what to keep in mind when buying shoes.
Why is it important to constantly measure your feet when buying shoes?
First of all, your feet are not the same size – one foot is bigger than the other. Shoes should generally take on the shape of the foot and the size of the shoe will depend on the design and brand. It’s best to fit shoes towards the end of the day, as this is when the foot has reached its maximum size. Feet also change shape over the years. For example, your shoe size can go up during pregnancy.
What are three important things to keep in mind when buying shoes?
* When you try on a shoe, it must take on the shape of your foot and the weight of your foot should be evenly distributed between your heel and forefoot/toe.
* You should be able to flex the shoe at the ball of the foot. The shoe should not squash your foot.
* When buying shoes, buy with the occasion in mind. If you’re buying heels you may be planning to spend a lot of time in them so they need to be comfortable, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of standing and walking.
How often should you vary the height of heels you wear?
You should vary heel height throughout the week. Wear heels to work on alternate days. An acceptable heel height for work is between 1 ½ and 3 ½ cm. A heel height of above 3 ½ cm is excessive and should only be considered for special occasions. Heels of this height will strain your body and can place it out of alignment. Vary your heel height and do daily calf muscle stretches. Do foot exercises daily to work your intrinsic muscles.
What are some signs that you need to see a podiatrist?
Aching, tired feet are not normal. Any foot pain means that your feet are not happy. The longer you leave feet problems, the bigger the problem they become. Incorrect shoe wear and walking barefoot places strain on your feet. Long-term effects of bad feet habits include foot muscle wasting, bone abnormalities, corns and calluses.