At our North Oakville Foot Care (Chiropodist), Physio, and Massage clinic we see many people who have foot pain, heel pain and toe pain for a variety of reasons. When we are helping people recover and gain function we look at the complete picture regarding activities they participate in, postures they take as well as footwear. Specifically, when Physiotherapists are treating lower body issue such at shin splints, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip arthritis and low back pain, or Brittney the Chiropodist (Foot Care Specialist) is providing custom orthotics it is important to ensure people are choosing to wear ideal footwear. Proper shoes helps in recovery from and injury as well as help prevent injury occurrence / recurrence.
Chiropodist Brittney suggests these 4 shoe tests to help in your shoe selection:
1. The Heel Counter Squeeze Test – . The hard piece at the back of a shoe is called the heel counter. This piece helps in controlling the side to side motion of the foot and heel in the shoe. It is important to have a strong heel counter to help provide stability and support for the foot and ankle. (Side Note – this is why it’s also important to have your shoes tied – it helps ensure the shoe fits properly and why it’s important to avoid breaking the heel counter by forcing your foot into the shoe without untying it or without the assistance of a shoehorn). If a heel isn’t contained in the heel counter excess movement can cause blisters and even arch pain from trying to grip a loose fitting shoe with the toes. To test: hold the shoe in one hand and try to bend the back of the shoe with the other hand – from the top and from the sides. You will have better motion control with a heel counter that doesn’t bend as much.
2. The Bend Test – hold the shoe in both hands and try to fold the shoe in half. The shoe ideally should only have bend at the ball (front part) of the foot. This movement matches where the foot is designed to have more movement as we walk. If the shoe has to much bend or bends at the wrong parts / isn’t supportive this can damage the joints and soft tissues of the foot.
3. The Twist Test – Similar to the bend test, hold the shoe in both hands and move it in the motion as if trying to wring out a towel. You should not have much flexibility in the shoe as you twist it.
4. Does the Shoe have a Removable Liner? Ideally the shoe should have the capacity to remove and replace the liner / insole. In order to maintain proper cushioning the lining should be replaced on a regular basis. Also the ability to remove the lining will also be of benefit to allow Orthotics to fit into the shoe. This will help protect your joints and improve the function of the foot and above joints.