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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Comfortable Women's Dress Shoes - Stuart Weitzman

I was introduced to the Stuart Weizman "Girlbands" shoe by a stylish and particularly chic patient who was wearing them this past week. She said they are exceptionally comfortable and she can wear them all day with no problems. 
After examining the shoe, I was particularly impressed with the rigid sole which gives more protection and comfort to the foot and I was especially impressed with the soft yet secure bands that have a little bit of "give" while holding the foot secure. This is an excellent choice for someone who has issues with mild foot swelling throughout the day.  
I also liked the fact that these can be dressed up for evening or can be worn with more casual outfits. 



Recommended For Patients with:

*Mild to Moderate Hammertoes
*Mild (Possibly Moderate) Bunions
*Mild (Possibly Moderate) Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion across the 1st toe joint) 
*Mild Morton's Neuroma
*Mild (Possibly Moderate) Capsulitis of the Toe Joints
*Mild to Moderate Exostosis (Bone Spur on the top of the foot)
*Mild Osteoarthritis 
*Mild to Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Mild (Possibly Moderate) Achilles Tendonitis 
*Mild Haglund's Deformity  
*Mild Ligament Laxity/Hypermobility
*Mild Tendonitis 
*Ingrown Toenails 

NOT Recommended For Patients with:

*Neuropathy (Nerve Damage) 
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation) 
*Charcot Foot
*History of Foot Ulcerations (Open Sores) 
*Severe Hammertoes
*Severe Bunions 
*Ankle Instability 
*Severe Ligament Laxity/Hypermobility 
*Hallux Rigidus (No Motion across the 1st Toe Joint)
*Moderate to Severe Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis

Please remember that if you are experiencing 
foot and ankle pain for more that a week - 
I highly recommend following up with 
a Podiatrist for evaluation and treatment! 
You'd be surprised how often we can help heal your foot and ankle issues without painful surgeries or injections. 
Sometimes surgery is appropriate but, in my experience, most problems can be greatly improved without surgery and by doing some pretty simple pain-free treatments. 

I always tell patients, 
"The first part of the process is we have to heal your foot. The second part is we have to make sure that you are in proper shoes and inserts so that the problem does not reoccur."

 That's what this blog is about - 
once you are through the healing phase, 
it's important that you find 
comfortable and (hopefully!) cute shoes 
that are specific for your 
particular biomechanics and foot issues.  

For more information, 
please refer to my article on this blog called 
"The Basics" or my article on "Crocs." 

 Happy Halloween!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy 

Proud Second Runner up in a 
Pumpkin Carving contest last night where I won 
a pair of Halloween socks.  
How Apropo.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top Twenty Comfortable Boots - Podiatry Recommended...


(Yes, some are not so pretty - but keep going -  there's a little bit for everyone in this list!)

Born Bitsy 

I'm partial to the Born Brand of shoes! This boot has soft, good quality leather and allows for extra room in the calf which is great for women with more muscular calves. They have good arch support and a rigid sole which allows for more protection of the foot. It has a decently wide toebox and the soft leather is good for women with mild to possibly moderate hammertoes and bunions. 
The slightly tapered toebox may not work for women with severe hammertoes and bunions.  

Born Christina 

Once again, Born is a wonderful boot! The thick rigid sole allows for better biomechanical control of the foot which allows for comfortable all day wear. The wide toebox is great for women with mild to possibly moderate hammertoes and bunions. The boot is true to size and has good arch support. 
If you have moderate to severe Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint) or any forefoot issues like capsulitis, osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease - this may not be the boot for you because of the heel height. 

Check out the Born "Sash" boot for $78 on 
It's not officially on the "Top Twenty" list but it should be! I came across it and I love the Born brand and I couldn't resist the price...

Dansko Aurora 

Bar none, Dansko are top-notch when it comes to comfort! Dansko shoes and boots have been a staple of my wardrobe for years. If you are on your feet all day, on concrete floors, have a history of foot pain or are looking for a great boot that will be comfortable - Dansko is it!  
The only caution I give with Dansko is that if you have prominent "bumps" on your feet - particularly on the top of your midfoot area - the Dansko might apply too much pressure and it could be uncomfortable. Also, if you are older (geriatric), have muscle weakness or significant nerve damage - Dansko boots may be too heavy for you. You need something supportive but light

 Dansko Finley 

Okay, not the prettiest thing on the block but hey, if your feet hurt and you need a dependable solid comfortable boot for all day activities - this is an even better Dansko boot than the one above. It's hardcore Dansko comfort! 

Durango Boot 

In an attempt to have some less expensive boots on the list, I found this Durango Boot at $128. It's hard to find a high quality boot for less than sixty to eighty dollars but they are out there. This boot offers a thick rigid sole for more comfort and protection. The toebox tapers in a bit too much so if you have moderate hammertoes or bunions - this may not be the right boot for you. 

Durango Harness The Dream
$59 on 6pm.com

A better price than the Durango above and a wider toebox. This boot has an awesome thick rigid sole which allows for exceptional comfort for all day wear on concrete surfaces. It has a low heel so that works especially well if you have forefoot problems such as Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint), osteoarthritis,  degenerative joint disease, mild to moderate hammertoes and bunions, and metatarsalgia.  
check out the Durango "Flower in Love" boot for $84 on 6pm.com. 

Fit Flop Hooper 

Fit Flop Hooper - once again, not the cutest boot ever but - ridiculously comfortable! As I tell my patients, having style and looking fabulous is all about your attitude - not what's on your feet. If your feet hurt, if you have chronic pain, if you are on your feet on concrete surfaces all day - don't knock this boot till you try it! 
If you have muscle weakness, significant neurological problems, are elderly or have balance issues, this might not be the boot for you.

Harley Davidson Huston Boot 

I bought this boot for a winter trip to Germany because I knew I was going to do tons of walking. It was very comfortable and it has a great look that was easy to dress up or down. The toebox does taper in and is a bit narrow so if you have any issues with hammertoes, bunions, corns or calluses - proceed with caution!  

John Fluevog Arresto 

I love John Fluevog shoes! The low heel, wide toebox and supportive sole provides lots of comfort. This is a great boot for light office wear but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for hard-core all day, run around on concrete floors kinds of work.

John Fluevog Cece

Excellent John Fluevog Boot! This has the rigid supportive sole as well as the lower heel for more comfort. Great for anyone who can't tolerate heels due to Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint) as well as metatarsalgia, capsulitis, hammertoes, bunions and osteoarthitis. 

John Fluevog Together Hi Nico

I own the shoe version of this boot. The construction is basically the same and I absolutely adore it! It's very comfortable and I can wear it all day long for light office work. However, if I was going to be doing increased activities - I would probably bump it up to my Danskos. I like the John Fluevog thick chunky heel, the supportive sole and the wide square toebox. 


 MBT Boots 

 MBT is the ultimate classic boot when it comes to comfort! The rocker-bottom sole gives exceptional support, comfort and biomechanical control which is great for people with chronic foot pain and are on their feet all day. 
The MBT boot is not recommended for patients with Achilles Tendonitis issues, balance issues, muscle weakness, and significant nerve damage. Also, just as an aside, don't wear a rocker bottom shoe on a cruise. Nothing worse that wearing a rocker-bottom shoe on a rocking cruise ship!

Merrell Martina Waterproof

I think this is a cute look! And waterproof - what's not to love?  This boot has a thick rigid protective sole, wide toebox and low heel which is great for all day wear. 

 Naot Illusion

I love this boot! It's gorgeous and also super comfortable. The Naots tend to run narrow to medium widths so if you have large or muscular calves - this is not the best boot for you. 
It also accommodates a dress orthotic although it doesn't necessary need arch support as it has a thick rigid protective sole with decent arch support already in it. 

Naot Modesto 

 Another great Naot boot! Thick rigid sole, decently wide toebox and it accomodates a dress orthotic although it doesn't necessarily need one. 
It's a great looking boot and works great if you have mild hammertoes and bunions, metatarsalgia, and mild Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toejoint). It does run narrow to medium and does not work well for women with wide feet and calves. 


Spring Step Thrive 

Love the price! Not to mention it's a great boot. The thick rigid sole is very protective and comfortable for wonderful biomechanical control of the foot. The wide toebox offers adequate room for mild to moderate hammertoes and bunions. 
Excellent for anyone who has forefoot or midfoot issues such as osteoarthritis, Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint), degenerative joint disease, capsulitis and mild to moderate tendonitis. 

Ugg Ultimate Short 

You can't go wrong with Uggs! 
This Ugg has a sole that is thick, rigid and protective for more comfort as well as a wide soft toebox that is awesome for mild to possibly even severe hammertoes and bunions. 
The Ugg will accommodate custom-molded orthotics as well as over-the-counter inserts for more arch support. Many of my Pediatric patients wear Uggs with their orthotics because it's one of the few shoe choices that is biomechanically sound for their feet (which pleases their Parents and Podiatrist!) and also lets them feel like they are wearing something cool and somewhat fashionable (which pleases them!).
Worth the money!

Dr. Marten's Bellissa 

I love the way this boot looks! 
Dr. Martens have always been a standard of comfort because of its trademark thick, rigid, protective sole. The more traditional "combat boot" style of Dr. Marten's are popular with many of my teenager patients who have "biomechanically challenged" feet and can't comfortably wear the Converse or Van's. When I tell them they can wear Dr. Martens with inserts - their eyes light up. Funny how they were cool when I was a teenager and still are...
Check out the Dr. Martens website - they have lots of cool colors and styles and if you have a kid with foot issues and you need to wean them away from Converse or Van's - try luring them into comfort with Dr. Martens!
The more traditional Dr. Marten's "combat style" boot (not pictured here) is great for kids (or adults) with flat feet, hypermobility, ligament laxity, ankle instability - as long as they are worn with arch support.



Dr Martins Triumph 1914
What's not to love? These are cool! 
Perhaps it's the remnants of my nineties Goth days (I admit it - just a little Goth - circa 1999!) but I love these. Great for trooping all over the city in all sorts of weather - durable, comfortable and, one again, great for anyone with "biomechanically challenged" feet who want a cool look with comfort. 
The laced boot allows for more give so if you have trouble with boots being too tight in the calf or pressing too much on the top of your foot because of a high arch or a bump (exostosis) on the top of your foot - this would be a good option as you can adjust the tension with the laces. 
For the more daring fashionista - you can go to 6pm.com 
get this boot in some bold colors for $75).



Dansko Vail 

 I couldn't resist! I've got a long term love affair with Dansko shoes and this waterproof boot is great for trudging trough all types of gnarly weather. I did my residency in Buffalo and many is the time I had to walk my sweet pitbull Sheba at ungodly hours in sleet, rain, snow and all types of foul weather - this boot would have come in handy...
P.S. If you are in horrible weather and need a hardcore coat - try the "Stadium Parka" from LandsEnd. I'm not sure I would have survived Buffalo without that coat! 
Funny to end a blog on shoes with a recommendation on coats but - c'est la vie! 

Keep scrolling down for my September 17, 2011 blog on a great Donald J. Plimer boot! 

One of my patients said she asks a salesperson at DSW call her when they get in a shipment of Donald J. Plimer shoes in because she gets first pick of the shoe she wants at deeply discounted prices. Make friends with salepeople! They can be great assets in helping you in your search for the perfect shoe! 

I hope this was helpful!

Remember, good boots are an investment...

Hope all is well,
Dr Cathleen A McCarthy


For more recommendations of
Comfortable Boots - check out...


Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Podiatrist's Opinion on The Shetcher Shape-Up Debate...

The Great Sketcher Shape-Up Debate...

The Rocker-Bottom "toning shoes" are being attacked in the media, which is frustrating because there is so much misinformation out there about shoes...

The main reason I started the blog 
was to provide information to my patients about proper shoegear. There are so many crappy shoes out there that I can't believe this is the shoe that is getting a bad rap. 

One of the lawusuit is suing over "false claims" 
that the rocker-bottom shoes will tone you up. Okay, I'll leave that to the attorneys to duke it out whether false claims were made or not.  I don't have the answer to that one. Show me the research and we'll talk...

the actual Rocker Bottom shoes
whether the "claims" are true or false - 
I don't know but -
  I do know that the rocker bottom shoes are... Excellent

The Rocker-Bottom shoes are not for everyone! 
If you are elderly, have balance issues, nerve damage, muscle or leg weakness, Achilles tendonitis, Charcot foot, Diabetic foot ulcers, multiple back surgeries (several other issues) - this is NOT the appropriate shoe for you!
However, if you do not have any of the above issues and suffer from foot pain or are recovering from a fracture - 
this may be an excellent shoe for you. 
I have found that most patients need to ease into the rocker bottom shoes. Wear them for one hour the first day, two hours the second, three hours the third, ect - until you are in them a full day. Jumping into full activities too quickly with a rocker bottom shoe can cause some knee, hip, lower pain aggravation. 

There is not one shoe that is perfect for everyone! 

A patient's specific foot type, pathology and individual biomechanics all play an important role in determining what type of shoe is best for that patient.
The rocker-bottom shoes are typically great for patients with foot pain caused by biomechanical issues. 

Think of it this way, 
if you broke your wrist and you go to the doctor and she puts you in a cast - you are going to leave her office feeling much better and in less pain because the fracture has been stabilized and immobilized. 
Now, this is a simplistic explanation but basically, less motion across the sight of injury (whether it's soft tissue, bone or joint) will lead to less pain, less inflammation, less swelling and faster healing. 

If you break a bone in your foot, we as Podiatrists place patients in below-the-knee walking boots (CAM walkers) which have rocker-bottom soles. 
The CAM walkers allow the patient to walk with less pain while the healing occurs. 
The Sketcher Shape-Up and all of the rocker bottom shoes are based on the same concept - 
if you eliminate motion across the area of pain - you will have less pain. 

Biomechanically speaking, in most cases, 
less motion equals less pain.

What's also important is having a wide, soft toe-box, arch support (whether it's a custom-molded orthotic or a good over-the-counter insert) and rearfoot control.  

I know there are people out there who will disagree with me and that's fine. All I can say is I am a Podiatrist and this is my career. 
Every working day for the last eleven years, I spend my day talking to patients about their foot and ankle issues. Over the years, I've learned a lot from patients about what works and what doesn't. Lots of school and thousand of hours of working with patients has taught me several things:

1. There is an exception to every rule!

2. The first step is to heal the foot, the second step is to make sure the patient's foot is biomechanically controlled with proper shoes and inserts so the problem/pain does not reoccur. 

3. Most patients don't need foot surgery! 

4. If I stick to the basics - I have an extremely high success rate!

I love what I do.
I love helping people.
I love being a Podiatrist - it's a great career. 
I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I get the opportunity to help people. 

Have a wonderful day...


Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy