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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Podiatrist Recommended: Top Five Walking Shoes.

Dr. McCarthy's Top Picks for Walking Shoes... 



The Sketcher Shape-Up

I love the Sketcher Shape-Up! As the fifth shoe on my list, I am going to be brutally frank and tell you why I like this shoe - when I have patients who desperately need the MBT but can't afford it's $250 price tag - I send them to purchase the Sketcher Shape-Up which I describe as the "less expensive version of the MBT." I know that is not the most flattering picture I can paint of this shoe but I will say that I am extremely grateful that it exists! 

The Sketcher Shape-Up is a great walking shoe for a wide variety of foot ailments as well as knee, hip and lower back pain. In particular, it works well for patients with heel pain, metatarsalgia, osteoarthritis, and forefoot issues such as capsulitis, bunions, and painful calluses. It is also great for anyone who works on their feet all day on concrete floors. It has great shock absorption and is super-protective of the foot so that is will help prevent injuries, prevent wear-and-tear of the joints and prevent progression of many foot pathologies that you might already have developed (i.e. bunions and hammertoes). I recommend that you wear a custom-molded orthotic or an excellent over-the-counter insert for arch support with this shoe. 

Cost: $65-100

FOURTH PLACE: New Balance 845


The New Balance 845 is also an excellent walking shoe - the thing that sets it apart is that it has a Roll-Bar Technology which offers optimal protection for the foot during gait. It has a wide toebox and excellent rearfoot control which make it an ideal shoe for patients who suffer with a variety of foot complaints including bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, osteoarthritis, metatarsalgia - just to mention a few. 

I've found this shoe online for as little as $35 at 6pm.com.

THIRD PLACE: New Balance 927 

I call this shoe "Old Faithful" because it never fails. With the exception of patients with severe foot deformities, this is a great walking shoe that offers a rigid, protective sole, a wide soft toe-box and excellent rearfoot control. It has Rollbar Technology which offers motion control for maximum stability. It also has cushioning in the heel for increased shock absorption and overall, it is a relatively light shoe.  

This is a great shoe for diabetic patients as it is considered an "extra-depth shoe" that offers extra room in the toe area to help prevent the development of corns, calluses, blisters and ulcers. If you are diabetic or have neuropathy (nerve damage), I would recommend adding an accommodative insert made of plastizote as an insole. Plastizote has been proven to decrease friction that can lead to blisters, calluses and ulcers. You can usually purchase an over-the-counter version of this insert from a Podiatrist or online and if you are a Medicare patient, the cost of the shoe and the inserts should be covered by Medicare if you get them through a Podiatrist's office that participates in the extra-depth shoe program. 

Cost: $80


I own this shoe also and whenever my lower back hurts, I immediately put these on and, for me, it's instant relief. I also recommend this shoe for anyone who works long hours on hard floor surfaces. Many of my patients who are postal employees, teachers or are in retail have benefited from this shoe. I recommend wearing a custom-molded orthotic or at least an excellent over-the-counter insert for proper arch support to maximize it's benefits. I also recommend this shoe for patients with heel pain, forefoot pain such as metatarsalgia, osteoarthritis, hallux limitus/rigidus (limited motion at the 1st toe joint) and knee, hip and lower back pain.   

There are some limitations to this shoe and that is the only reason I have rated it as a runner up to first place. This shoe is not appropriate for patients with Achilles Tendonitis, balance issues or nerve damage. It is a very strong and heavy shoe and is not for everyone - especially not for the elderly.  I recommend that if you are trying this shoe for the first time that you do not purchase it online - find a store where you can try out the shoe. If you do purchase the shoe, do a slow break-in period of wearing it one hour the first day, two hours the second day, three hours the third day, ect - until you are able to wear it for a full day. If you get into this shoe too quickly and too aggressively, you may experience some knee, hip and lower back discomfort. 

Please see my blog article featuring the MBT for more information.

Cost: $190-250 

And the winner is...

FIRST PLACE: The Spira Classic...

The Spira Classic is my personal favorite! It has a rigid sole with hidden "Wave Spring Technology" that stores and disperses energy at every step. The sole is thick and protective while having hidden springs that give excellent shock absorption and returns energy during gait. It can be optimized by adding a custom-molded insert and is appropriate shoe-gear for a wide variety of patients and foot pathologies. I also like that is is relatively light while remaining strong and supportive. Plus, I like the way it looks - it's form meets function. 

Please see my blog report on this shoe for more information and a full review.

Cost: $60-140


I hope you enjoyed my list! Please remember that I have presented a thumb-nail sketch of each shoe and for a more in-depth review of these shoes, please refer to my blog articles. Please remember that if you are experiencing pain in your foot or ankle that is not resolving with proper shoegear - go see your Podiatrist! As I always tell my patients, "The quicker you come in, the quicker we can fix it and you can get back to living your life."


Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Podiatrist Recommended: Comfortable Women's Dress Shoe...

 John Fluevog's - Together Hi Benatar.

I own this shoe and it is one of the few dress shoes that I can wear all day. It is almost as comfortable as my tennis shoes. 

It has a thick sole that is protective of the forefoot area, a chunky heel for more stability and the toe-box is wide and deep. The strap across the midfoot area also allows for more stability. Everything about this shoe is high quality and the craftsmanship is wonderful. The shoe is expensive but well worth it. I consider it my workhorse shoe and I find I can wear it through a work day into the evening.  

This shoe is recommended for:
*Plantar Fascitiis (Heel Pain)
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild Bunions 
*Mild Hammertoes
*Mild Morton's Neuroma
*Mild Metatarsalgia
*Mild Osteoarthritis

This shoe is NOT recommended for:
*Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (limited range of motion across the 1st toe joint)
*Moderate to Severe Bunions
*Moderate to Severe Hammertoes
*Moderate to Severe Metatarsalgia
*Moderate to Severe Osteoarthritis
*Charcot Foot
*Diabetics with Neuropathy

I found this shoe in the John Fluevog store in L.A. and once I tried on the shoe I didn't even balk at the price. I had been looking for an excellent dress shoe for over a year and when I found this - the search was over! 

Rating: Excellent! 

Cost : $269

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Heel Pain and Podiatrist Recommended Shoes.

Plantar Fasciitis.

What can I say? In podiatry school, our professors told us that most of our future practices would be dedicated to helping patients who suffer with plantar fasciitis and that we would be treating heel pain every day of our careers. If I didn't believe it then, after ten years in private practice (and a wicked case of heel pain for yours truly ten years ago) I certainly believe it now!

People like to say that they have a "heel spur" but in my experience it is usually not the actually heel spur that is causing pain. It is the inflammation and swelling of the soft tissue called plantar fascia as it inserts into the heel bone (the calcaneus) that causes the pain. 

On a patient's first visit, I always get an x-ray to rule out any possibility of a stress fracture or another underlying problem (bone tumor, ect). Many times, a patient will have a stress fracture and plantar fasciitis and, strangely enough, in my experience it is usually the stress fracture that heals first. I will also sometimes get an ultrasound to make sure there is no bursa which is a small fluid filled sack under the heel bone that can cause pain. Patients often have the sensation of "walking on a hard pebble" when there is a bursa present. More often than not, there is no bursa present and the pain typically is plantar fasciitis or an undiagnosed stress fracture. 

Plantar Fasciitis typically presents with patients who complain of waking up in the morning and having severe pain when they first get out of bed but the pain gets better with more walking and this process repeats itself every time they get up after sitting down for any length of time. A Stress Fracture is usually a dull, constant ache that gets worse with more walking and hurts most at the end of the day. Patients often think that because the pain is not excruciating that it can't be a fracture. In reality, fractures are usually more like a dull ache that just won't go away -a toothache type of pain - it's moderate but not terrible. One example, I had a patient who had chronic pain in her right foot for twenty years. We took an x-ray and it turned out that she had a chronic stress fracture of her second metarsal bone that she had been walking around on for years! After eight weeks of immobilization and rest, she was pain free. I always tell patients that if your foot hurts for more than three days - see a Podiatrist! You'd be surprised at the relatively simple non-surgical things we can do to ease your pain and get you on the path to healing.

I find that I can successfully treat heel pain ninety-nine percent of the time without surgery, using pain-free conservative modalities, proper shoegear and inserts. 

I always advise my patients that the treatment of plantar fasciitis is a two-step process:
First, we must get them through the healing process. 
Second, after they heal, we must get them into proper shoes and inserts so the problem does not return (and it will try to return!).

My Recommendations for Patients Suffering with Heel Pain: 
*Go to a Podiatrist and get x-rays to confirm that you are not walking around on a stress fracture!
*Stop walking barefoot. The only time you should be barefoot and standing is in the shower. And yes, that is long-term!
*Stop wearing flip-flops.
*Do wear Croc Clogs (with the strap to the back) as your house shoe. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, you should be stepping directly into your Croc Clogs.   

Let me stop here for those of you who are horrified at the possibility of giving up your flip-flops - if you stop walking barefoot, stop wearing flip-flops and do wear Croc-Clog's (with the strap to the back of the heel) around the house - you will have prettier feet, save money in medical bills, and have less pain in your feet, knees, hips and lower back and probably get a significant improvement in your heel pain over the next several weeks. 

More Recommendations:
*Once again - go to a Podiatrist to get you through the healing phase. I won't go into all the therapies/modalities at this time but will skip forward to that happy day when you are on the road to recovery and we shall concentrate on proper shoe gear and inserts...

Shoe Recommendations:
*Croc Clogs around the house (with the strap to the back)
*For a good Walking shoe:
     *MBT's (with arch support - either a custom-molded orthotic or a good over-the-counter insert). 
     *Sketcher Shape-ups (with arch support) 
     *Spira Walking Shoe (with arch support)
     *New Balance 927 (with arch support)

 **Please see my reviews on all of these shoes on previous blogs that I have done. These shoes are not for everyone and can often be pathology specific. For instance, if you have Achilles Tendonitis, balance problems or certain neurological disorders, you do not want to get into the MBT or the Sketcher Shape-up.
**You can also refer to the "Podiatrist Recommended Shoe Store" at the top of this page for photos of these shoes and other recommended shoes. 

For more information, please refer to my article on "Chronic Pain and Your Feet" which goes into more detail about the importance of shoes. 

I hope this was helpful!!

Have a Wonderful Day...
Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Comfortable Running Shoes for Patients with Flat Feet.


This is a incredibly stable shoe for runners who overpronate or have a hypermobile flat feet. The shoe is a bit heavier than most due to the added stability features that offer stronger support. It's stiff sole helps to protect the foot from the injury of repetitive trauma and is excellent for heavy runners with flatfeet who need extra support. This running shoe offers maximum biomechanical control for the foot and ankle.

Recommended for Runners who have:
*Hypermobility of the Joints (too much motion)
*Collapsing Arches
*Over Pronation / Flat Feet
*Ligament Laxity
*Heavy Runners! 

**Whenever I have a pediatric patient with severe flatfeet, hypermobility or collapsing arches that are causing pain, I recommend this shoe with firm arch support (a Custom-Molded Orthotic or over-the-counter insert). I occasionally have to also put the patient into an ankle brace to create even more biomechanical control. The Brooks Beast is not just for heavy runners - it's great for any patient with excess motion and severe flat feet. 


The Brook's Ariel is the Women's running shoe version of the Brook's Beast. It's an excellent running shoe that offers maximal biomechanical control and is slightly softer and more pliable than the Brooks Beast.  

**I highly recommend wearing these running shoes with either a  Custom-Molded Orthotics or an over-the-counter insert. Proper arch support with help prevent tendonitis, mechanical strain and help with proper alignment of the knees, hips and lower back.  

** This shoe is very strong! It is not for everyone. If it's not comfortable or it is causing any problems - than it is not the proper running shoe for you. The acid test is how it feels on you!!

Hope all is well,
Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy

Comfortable Sandal at Dillards at Paradise Valley Mall...

The Siren Sport...

This is a comfortable sandal that sports a thick, rigid sole, decent arch support, a wide, soft toe-box and good midfoot and rearfoot control. Being that I am in Arizona, I need to apologize to the rest of the world for still reviewing sandals in October but we are still wearing them!  

This sandal is recommended for patients with:
*Mild Heel Pain/ Plantar Fascitiis
*Mild Bunions and Hammertoes
*Mild Morton's Neuroma 
*Mild Metatarsalgia
*Mild Tendonititis
*Mild Osteoarthritis
*Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (Limited Range of Motion of the 1st Toe Joint)

This Sandal is NOT recommended for patients with:
*Diabetic Patients
*Neuropathic Patients
*Charcot Foot
*Severe Heel Pain / Plantar Fasciitis
*Severe Foot Pain (See a Podiatrist!)
*Moderate to Severe Achilles Tendonitis
*Severe Swelling
*Severe Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease

Cost: $59.99

Rating: I rate this sandal a 6.5 on a scale of one to ten with ten being the best. 

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Comfortable Women's Boots at Dillards at Paradise Valley Mall...


Loved this boot!
Found at Dillard's at Paradise Valley Mall on Tatum & Cactus in Phoenix (ask for Kathleen!) - this is a wonderful boot because it has a supportive rigid sole which helps to decrease stress and strain across the foot. It has a wide toe box with no seams, making it excellent for anyone with mild bunion or hammertoe issues. It doesn't have the best arch support but it may accommodate a dress orthotic (assuming you don't have a high arch or painful bumps on the top of your mid-foot area which would cause pain). It is also fleece lined which is just comfy.

This boot is recommended for patients with:
*Mild to Moderate Bunions and Hammertoes
*Mild Morton's Neuromas
*Mild Metatarsalgia
*Mild Plantar Fascitiis/Heel Pain
*Mild Tendonitis
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild to Moderate Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (Limited Range of Motion at the 1st Toe Joint)
*Mild to (Perhaps) Moderate Osteoarthritis
*Mild Ankle Pain and/or Lateral Ankle Instability
*Diabetics with Minimal Foot Issues

This Shoe is NOT recommended for Patients with:
*Charcot Foot
*Severe Bunions (although it might work if you take the boot to a shoe repair/Cobbler to have the leather in the bunions area stretched)
*Severe Hammertoes
*Severe Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease
*Moderate to Severe Tendonitis
*Severe Plantar Fascitiis/Heel Pain

Cost: $150

Rating: 8/10 - on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comfortable Women's Casual Dress Shoe...


This is a wonderful casual dress shoe that works well for patients with a multitude of foot issues. It has a rigid sole for more biomechanical control of the foot as well as a cushioned insert with some decent arch support. The wide toebox, adjustable midfoot strapping and rearfoot control supplies excellent biomechanical control to decrease pain, decrease chances of injury and prevent progression of foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes and osteoarthritis (to name a few!). Remember: Less motion means less wear and tear on the foot and, best of all, less pain...

This shoe is recommended for patients with:
*Plantar Fasciitis/ Heel Pain
*Mild to Moderate Bunions and Hammertoes
*Fat Pad Atrophy
*Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild to Moderate Tendonitis
*Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (Limited Range of Motion at the 1st Toe Joint)
*Mild to Moderate Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease
*Mild (Possibly Moderate) Morton's Neuroma

This shoe is NOT recommended for:
*Patients with Severe Diabetic Foot Issues
*Neuropathic Patients (Nerve Damage)
*Diabetic Ulcer Patients
*Charcot Foot
*Moderate to Severe Bunions and Hammertoes
*Moderate to Severe Morton's Neuroma
*Severe Degenerative Joint Disease
*Elderly Patients (They typically need a lighter shoe)
*Severe Tendonitis

Cost $120

Have a great day!
Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Comfortable Women's Dress Shoe - The Jambu Sweden & Jambu Wedge...


The Jambu Sweden (upper) and The Jambu Wedge (lower) are excellent woman's shoes for a wide variety of foot conditions...

The secret to this fabulous shoe is it's thick, rigid sole which allows for less motion across the bottom of the foot and less motion means less pain. It's wide toebox and rigid rearfoot control allows for more biomechanial control. This limits motion and therefore limits pain and mechanical strain as well as decreases the chance of injury.

This shoe is recommended for patients with:
*Mild Bunions
*Mild Hammertoes
*Mild to Moderate Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the first toe joint)
*Mild to Moderate osteoarthritis of the first toe joint
*Mild Morton's Neuroma
*Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Mild Tendonitis
*Mild Osteoarthritis of the mid-tarsal joint (mid-foot)
*Mild Knee, Hip and Lower Back Pain
*Capsulitis in the toe joints

This shoe is NOT recommended for:
*Neuropathic Patients (Nerve Damage)
*Charcot Foot
*Moderate to Severe Bunions and Hammertoes
*Moderate to Severe Degenerative Joint Disease/Osteoarthritis
*Severe Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (Severely limited range of motion of the first toe joint or a fused first toe joint)
*Moderate to Severe Tendonitis
*Moderate to Severe Morton's Neuroma

The photo of the Jambu Wedge was taken at The Shoe Mill in Tempe, Arizona.

Cost: $119

Have a wonderful day!
Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy

Comfortable Women's Dress Shoe at Shoe Mill in Tempe...


Found at The Shoe Mill in Tempe, Arizona.

I own this shoe and it's one of my favorite and most comfortable dress shoes! I can wear this shoe all day long at work...

This shoe has a thick, rigid sole for protection of the foot, a wide and semi-soft toebox to prevent hammertoes, bunions and ingrown toenails, and decent midfoot and rearfoot strapping for more biomechanical control. Although it will not be able to accommodate a custom-molded dress orthotic - if you need more arch control you can use an over-the-counter "stick on" arch support sold in many stores. I wore mine without arch control and they were uber-comfortable!

This is an acceptable dress shoe for patients with:
*Mild bunions
*Mild Hammertoes
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain

This shoe is NOT recommended for patients with:
*Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (limited range of motion of the first toe joint)
*Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease of the first toe joint
*Moderate to Severe Bunion or Hammertoes
*Moderate to Severe Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain
*Moderate to Severe Osteoarthritis in the foot or ankle
*Diabetic Patients
*Neuropathic Patients (Nerve Damage)
*Charcot Patients
*Moderate to Severe Tendonitis
*Moderate to Severe Hypermobility

Cost: $120

Have a Great Day!
Dr. Cathy McCarthy

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Comfortable Women's Shoes - The WOLKY CLOG at SHOE MILL in Tempe Arizona...

My husband and I did a "Light Rail Adventure" this past Saturday and took the new and beautiful Light Rail from Central Phoenix down to Tempe where we had a fabulous lunch at Cafe Boa after which I promptly dragged him into a shoe store that my patients have been raving about for quite some time...

in Tempe, Arizona...

What a great store! I was really impressed by their wide selection of comfortable shoes and - let's just say it - pretty shoes! From the awesome shoes to the charming, lovely (and knowledgable!) staff, I highly recommend my patients put in the travel time and check this place out.

Although the store had hundreds of wonderful shoes, I focused on four and the first of those four I will review today and the next three will follow shortly...


As all of my patients know, I am a huge fan of the Wolky shoe line and my favorite sandal of all time is the Wolky "Tulip" (which the Shoe Mill also has) but since not everyone lives in sunny Arizona - this is a great enclosed shoe for when the weather gets cooler. This shoe has a supportive sole with decent arch support, a wide toe box and good midfoot and rearfoot control.

This shoe is recommended for patients with:

*Mild to Moderate hammertoes
*Mild bunions (Moderate Bunions - the leather may need some stretching?)
*Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain
*Mild to moderate osteoarthritis and dejenerative joint disease
*Hallus Limitus/Hallus Rigidus (Limited Range of motion or arthritis at the 1st toe joint)
*Mild (possibly a moderate) Morton's Neuroma
*Plantar plate injury in the forefoot
*Mild to moderate Tailor's Bunion (the leather may need some stretching?)
*Mild to Moderate Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild to Moderate Tendonitis
*Mild to Moderate hypermobility/ankle instability
*Mild swelling

This may not be recommended for patients with:

*Moderate to Severe swelling
*Charcot Foot
*Severe Degenerative Joint Disease
*Severe Bunions & Hammertoes
*Diabetic Patients
*Neuropathic patients (Nerve damage)
*Patients who need to wear AFO's (custom molded braces)
*Ulcer patients

Cost $164
Rating: Excellent!

"Unique Footwear & Accessories"
398 S. Mill Ave #100
Tempe, AZ 85281

Ph: 480-966-3139


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Comfortable Womens's Dress Shoes - John Fluevog Shoes - Love at First Sight...

Let me be so bold as to tell you a personal story...

Seven years ago, I took a screenwriting night course at Scottsdale community college and, on the first day of class, being a bit shy, I went in the room, found a seat, sat down and - quietly scoped the room for cute guys. What can I say, I was single!

My eyes fell on this guy - long, lean, sexy and he had this cool, funky bohemian - style.

I immediately thought, "WHO - is that big hunk of eye candy?! Me like..."

Needless to say, I let him chase me around for awhile (not too long!) and, seven years later, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to be able to say that we have now been happily, wonderfully and beautifully married for five years and I'm more in love with him now than ever.

So, there is a point to this story - I have this talent - when I see a fabulous thing - I KNOW IT!

John Fluevog, I was rushing down Melrose in Los Angeles, not shopping, just trying to catch up to my group (as I had volunteered to go back and put more money in the meter) and, out of the corner of my eye, I spied - a shoe...

Not just any shoe - but a big hunk of eye candy shoe...

Forgetting my group, I hopped in the store, tried on a dozen shoes - loved them all and finally purchased the Benatar.
If I thought I liked the way they looked - I have to say I now have a new depth of love and appreciation for how they look and feel...

I have a new goal in life - I will own more John Fluevog shoes - I have finally found a designer who has combined cool, funky fashionable shoes with functionability and comfort.
John Fluevog - thank you!

Like my beautiful husband - you are a gem!

P.S. If you ever need input on starting a shoe line that is "pathology specific" to certain podiatric foot issues - let's talk!! (i.e. think: degenerative joint disease of the big toe - here's your shoe!)

Advice for if ordering online: John Fluevog shoes run small so order 1/2 size larger than you usually wear. Also, they are expensive but so totally worth it! Once again, good shoes are an investment - speaking as a Podiatrist - you can either put money into shoes or into co-pays - take your pick...

Have a Beautiful Fluevog Day!
I know I will,
Dr. Cathy McCarthy