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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Comfortable Men & Women's Casual Shoe...

Comfortable Men & Women's Casual Shoe.

If you have "biomechanically challenged" feet or suffer with chronic foot pain - try a shoe or boot with a hidden steel shank for added protection and comfort! 

If you suffer chronic painful feet, this may be a great option for you! Although it's counter-intuitive, if your feet hurt, one of the best things you can do is buy a shoe with a hidden shank in the sole of the shoe. 

I've had great success with patients who have chronic biomechanically challenged feet by getting them into shoes with a shank. The shank will prevent motion across the bottom of the foot which will limit motion across the joints, muscles and tendons which will greatly decreased stress, strain and pain. Whenever I have a patient come in wearing a regular outfit with work boots, I immediately know that this person has chronic pain and he or she has found the one shoe that they can wear without pain. 

I had a lovely forty year old woman who presented with eight years of chronically painful feet that completely limited her daily activities. She had seen at least ten other doctors who recommended everything from "just live with the pain" to major reconstructive foot surgery. I advised her to discontinue barefoot walking and flipflops, I recommended she wear Crocs Rx in the house as house slippers and we got her into a steel shanked hiking boot that came above the ankle. Her second appointment we got her molded for custom-molded inserts to go into her new steel shanked hiking boots that she purchased from REI. I didn't see her for another eight months when she came into the office to hug me and thank me because she had lost forty pounds because she was hiking two hours every day and she was doing everything she wanted to do pain free. She laughingly told me she had just gone to a wedding wearing a fabulous dress and her boots and she didn't care what people thought because she felt great! Needless to say, she made my day and it's that kind of success story that makes me love my profession. By the way, she looked uber-cute in her sundress and boots - she had the sunshine-y attitude that pulled it off to perfection!

A word of caution: this does not work for people who are elderly, have muscle weakness or are easily fatiguable. Also, anyone with nerve damage or drop-foot - the boots or shoes with a shank may be too heavy for your legs and will cause you to tire easily. 

I found a great website:
which has a nice selection of men and women's steel shanked boots and shoes. Be careful when ordering to make sure that you haven't inadvertently ordered a boot with a steel toe (unless you want the steel toe) as they will offer the shank options with and without the steel toe feature. 
I've featured several of the shoes with steel shanks  below...

Men's Blackbriar Caterpillar

Men's Ridgemont Caterpillar

Women's Tatum Harley Davidson

These shoes are Recommended (with either custom-molded inserts or a good over-the-counter insert) for Patients with:

*Mild to Severe Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint)
*Mild to Moderate Osteoarthritis
*Mild to Severe Metatarsalgia
*Mild to Moderate Tendonitis (Peroneal and Posterior Tibial Tendonitis)
*The Women's Tatum Shoe is recommended for mild Achille's Tendonitis (the men's shoes may not work as well for Achilles Tendonitis as there is not enough of a heel elevation to release tension on the Achille's tendon. You may be able to correct this by wearing a heel cup on top of your insert)
*Mild to Moderate Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain) 
*Mild Morton's Neuroma
*Mild to Moderate Bunions and Hammertoes
*Mild to Severe forefoot joint capsulitis, degenerative joint disease or other disorders of the forefoot (i.e. metatarsal-phalangeal joints).
*Mild to Moderate Ankle Instability (You may need to add an ankle brace or get a steel shanked boot that goes above the ankle). 
*Recently healed fractures or soft tissue injuries of the foot and/or toes
*Patients who are on their feet all day on concrete surfaces
*Pre-Charcot Foot (You should be under a Podiatrist's care and refer to his or her recommendations on this)
*Mild to Severe Hypermobility
*Flat Feet

These shoes are NOT Recommended for Patients with: 

*Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Weak legs or easily fatiguable lower extremities
*Patients with open sores or Ulcers (Do not pass go and go straight to a Podiatrist asap!)

I highly recommend that if your feet hurt enough for you to consider wearing a shoe with a shank that:

1. Visit your local Podiatrist and get his or her full evaluation and treatment recommendations for your particular foot and ankle condition. 

2. You get either a custom-molded orthotic or an excellent over-the-counter insert to replace the insert that is inside of these shoes. Check with your insurance company or your Podiatrist to see if your health insurance will cover custom-molded inserts - many times they are a covered benefit as the insurance companies know that CMO's can prevent surgery as well as stop or prevent the progression of foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, ect. Also, your Podiatrist will most likely have a excellent over-the-counter insert in stock in there office. For patients who do not have coverage for CMO's, we carry "Footsteps" which is a wonderful OTC insert that costs $50 as opposed to $400 for a CMO. I always tell patients that if finances are a concern, then please invest their money into a great shoe and purchase the OTC insert. The insert is like icing on the cake but the cake is the shoe. A quality shoe is crucial! People who purchase the CMO thinking that will solve all their problems are mistaken. You can have the best CMO in the world and if you put it in a crappy shoe it will only get you so far. However, if you have a great shoe and you put in a good OTC insert, you are much better off! 

3. If the steel shanked shoe helps but you are still having pain, you may want to add an ankle brace or get the steel shanked boot that comes above the ankle for more biomechanical control. Once again, I recommend seeing your local Podiatrist as we typically have excellent braces in our office and we will verify whether or not you should be in a brace. 

I hope this was helpful!

Have a wonderful day,

Dr Cathleen A. McCarthy 



Bunny Watson said...

Please if you could help me, I would be most grateful. I have halux limitus, wide forefoot, narrow heel. I have been sentenced to only wearing shoes with orthotics. My orthotics have a full rigid sole, cut out for the ball of foot, and metatarsal pads. I don't want to only wear New Balance 840s. My Dansko Pros, which I love, have been deemed too narrow in the forefoot.What shoes can accomodate an orthotic and have a wide footbed? My local shoe stores give me blank looks when I describe my needs.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Bunny,
Some shoe lines to try would be Wolky, Naot, Ariat and Alegria. Soem shoes in their line do have removable insoles that can be replaced with your CMO's. I would recommend trying specialty shoe stores like (in AZ) The Walking Company, Arizona Walk Shop and Foot Solutions. It is important that you insist that whatever shoe you get have a thick, rigid sole that doesn't twist or bend - especially in the forefoot.
Also, What about Uggs? A dress CMO would go into an Ugg boot and that should be comfortable. Have you considered getting a second pair of CMO's - a dress CMO - that would give you a larger option of shoes to wear?
Hope all is well and thank you for reading,