Be Kind to Your Feet

By May 16, 2014Aging in Place

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Our feet do an exceptional job for us during our lifetime. On the average, a healthy active person takes 5,000 to 7,000 steps per day. A step is measured when a foot leaves the ground (push off) and then that same foot hits the ground (heel strike) again. The average distance covered by a step is approximately 2 to 2.5 feet. This could amount to as many as 216 million steps in a lifetime.

So, how do we protect our feet in order for them to accomplish this role? The answer may not make a fashion statement but it is a simple answer: wear comfortable, supporting shoes. There are many conditions and diseases that can affect your feet. This article will concentrate on what to consider when buying a good pair of shoes. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Measure your feet for shoes in the afternoon. Feet naturally expand during the day, especially if you have even a minor swelling problem.
  • When choosing a pair of shoes, wear the same type of sock that you would normally wear with that pair of shoes.
  • Always measure both feet. Most people have one foot larger than another and this is especially true if one foot has experienced injury, disease, or nerve damage. Always choose a new pair of shoes that fits the larger foot.
  • Always try the shoes on both feet. There should be a ¼” to ½” space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If you have any changes in the shape of your joints of the forefoot/toes, consider the width of the shoe so that there is no pressure on either side of your forefoot or toes, and no pressure across the top of the forefoot and toes. This is especially true if your foot has some osteoarthritic changes, and the 1st metatarsal joint is enlarged. Pressure against this joint, or any changed joint, will cause pain, swelling, and alter your weight-bearing on the foot, which will alter your posture and balance. You may even need to consider a man’s shoe which is wider than female shoes across the forefoot. Consider a shoe of good leather that is soft and flexible, not hard and rigid.
  • Always walk in the shoes in the store. Your heel should not be sliding up and down the counter of the shoe, nor sliding sideways in the shoe. The heel of the shoe should cup your natural heel comfortably. The shoes should support your arches of your feet and give a stable platform to bring your weight from your heel to your forefoot. Find shoes that fit well and feel right before you buy them.
  • The soles of the shoes should give a solid but cushion footing, arch support, forefoot support, and not slip. The cushion of the shoe should be thick enough to cushion your feet when you are walking on different surfaces. In the store try to walk where there are different surfaces. Is your foot supported and cushioned adequately enough to support (reinforce) the action of your ankle joint?
  • Choose shoes that really fit the shape of your feet. In other words you are not choosing the shoe to cram your toes into a tight pointed toe shoe and a high heel. Avoid high heels and pointed toes—your feet and your back will love you.
  • Check the inside of each shoe for any type of seam, or other material that might irritate your feet or make a blister. Remember, if the shoe does not feel right in the store, it will not feel right at home and you will end up not wearing the shoes.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at my web site,; my office (951)369-6507; or my email, My goal is to help seniors keep healthy and moving. I welcome all questions and/or comments.

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