| Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

If The Shoes Fit, Wear Them!

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

foot problemsYou know that “Ahhh” feeling when you slip off your shoes? It may be a sign that the shoes you’re wearing aren’t fitting the way they should. Shoes that fit properly usually don’t cause discomfort. They usually don’t require a “break-in” period, either. Wearing ill-fitted shoes may not only hurt your feet, they may also cause ankle, hip, knee and back pain.

Here is a list of some common types of foot problems caused by wearing ill-fitted shoes.

  • Ankle sprains: Sometimes caused by wearing high heels. If you must wear heels, try to limit the heel height to no more than 2 inches.
  • Bunions: Sometimes shoes that are too narrow or pointy forces the big toe to turn inward, causing a bump on the outside of the big toe. Women are more likely than men to get a bunion.
  • Corns: Thick, painful areas of skin on the foot sometimes caused by too much pressure or friction from wearing ill-fitting shoes.
  • Hammertoes: Sometimes caused by wearing shoes that are too short, forcing the second joint of the toes to bend. The toes shorten and may affect a person’s balance.
  • Plantar fasciitis: Pain or burning along the bottom of the foot. The ligaments and tendons along the bottom of the foot can overstretch and cause the arch to collapse. Sometimes caused by wearing flats or shoes that lack arch support.

A properly-fitted pair of shoes may help prevent or eliminate some of these foot problems.

Pick the Right Pair of Shoes

Your footwear must fit comfortably and form to the shape of your foot. Shoes must provide adequate foot support, particularly in the arches. They should feel comfortable right from the start. You should choose shoes that are made for the type of physical activity you want to do, like walking, running, dancing, bowling, tennis, etc. Medicare Part B covers therapeutic shoes for people with diabetes if you meet certain requirements. Therapeutic shoes may help prevent foot ulcers and other foot problems.

Here are some tips for selecting footwear (Source: The Cleveland Clinic):

  • Choose shoes that conform to the natural shape of your foot. Make sure that the ball of your foot fits into the widest part of the shoe. The heel of the shoe should fit snugly without slipping. Avoid pointed shoes that force your toes into an unnatural position.
  • Do not wear shoes with a heel higher than two inches. High heels put pressure on the ankles and balls of the feet and, over time, may cause injuries such as bunions and calluses.
  • Try on new shoes at the end of the day. Your feet swell after standing or sitting during the day.
  • Try on both shoes when purchasing footwear, since one foot is often larger than the other.
  • Stand and walk around in the shoes before buying them to be sure they are comfortable.
  • Don’t rely on shoe sizes. Instead, always try on shoes, as sizes vary among brands.
  • Have each foot measured regularly, since feet tend to get larger with age.
  • Purchase shoes that are comfortable when you first try them on. Don’t expect shoes to stretch or break-in.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Shoes: Finding the Right Fit: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Four Essential Keys to Athletic Shoe Fit: PodiatryToday.com

Medicare Part B Coverage: MedicareMadeClear.com

 

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