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Friday, November 23, 2012

Updated List! Top 20 Comfortable Women's Dress Shoes - Podiatry Recommended

Updated List!
Top 20 Comfort Women's Dress Shoes

Any shoes on my list meet three of the four criteria that a shoe must have to be comfortable: a thick rigid and supportive sole, a wide toebox and rearfoot control. The fourth criteria is arch support and although many of these shoes do have decent arch support, I am less stringent on this criteria because you can get custom molded dress orthotics from your Podiatrist that fit into most dress shoes.

My list is not in any order but I would like to reiterate that what shoe feels comfortable on you is very specific to the biomechanical structure of your feet as well as any previous foot injuries that you have experienced. Anyone with forefoot issues (especially Hallux Limitus/Rigidus, which is limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint) should steer away from the heels. I do include a number of higher heels on this list because many women can wear them comfortably and I've tried to choose high heel shoes that are significantly more protective of the feet, which will slow the progression of foot deformities and allow for more comfort - as opposed to wearing a less supportive and poorly constructed high heel. 


I love the look of this shoe! Naot shoes tend to be amazingly comfortable as they have padded heel cups and an anatomical cork and latex footbed that conforms to your foot. The Naot Pleasure is a great shoe for anyone who wears a narrow to medium fit. A hidden metal shank in the sole gives the shoe more stability and less motion, which leads to more comfort, less mechanical strain, less chance of injury and 'wear and tear' on joints. This shoe is not recommended for anyone with severe Hallux Limitus/Rigidus, which is limited range of motion of the first toe joint. If you have any severe forefoot issues this may not be the right shoe for you. It is a great shoe for anyone with heel pain and mild Achilles Tendonitis. 


This is a similar shoe to the Naot Pleasure (above) and also has a hidden metal shank for more comfort and support as well as the anatomic cork and latex foot bed. This shoe also works well for anyone with a narrow to medium fit. 


For anyone who can't tolerate heels, this is a fabulous flat dress shoe that offers support, comfort and style. It has a removable footbed so that you can replace it with your custom-molded orthotic if needed. For those of you that don't have custom-molded orthotics, the insert is high quality and molds to the foot. This is an excellent shoe for anyone with forefoot issues such as: Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (decreased or no motion of the 1st toe joint), Bunions, Hammertoes, Corns & Calluses, Morton's Neuroma, Osteoarthritis, Heel pain and metatarsalgia.  


I love Tsubo! They make high quality, stylish shoes that offer all- day comfort. The thick, rigid sole offers wonderful protection for the foot joints and I particularly love the great midfoot and rearfoot control. Once again, if you have any severe forefoot issues that limit you on heel height this may not work for you. 


Several years ago, the Tsubo Acrea was one of my go-to shoes for all-day comfort at work. It has the thick, rigid sole that is crucial to foot comfort as well as midfoot and rearfoot control. Because the rearfoot strap on this shoe moves, I wasn't able to wear my custom-molded dress orthotics in this shoe but I found that I was comfortable with the arch support the shoe provided. Again, this is not a good shoe for anyone who can't tolerate high heels or who has severe forefoot issues such as Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint).


Because this is a wedge, you get the height for fashion but not the high angle that causes increased pressure on the forefoot structures. The thick, rigid sole is excellent for protecting the foot and the forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot control is wide, soft and supportive. 


Assuming that you don't have a severely deformed foot, I'd like to meet the woman who isn't comfortable in these shoes! The Alegria Paloma and Abbi have an amazingly comfortable and protective sole as well as a soft insert with excellent arch support. They come in a wide variety of colors and designs from conservative to quirky. 

An extra-wide toebox is perfect for anyone who has painful bunions, hammertoes, corns & calluses, Morton's Neuroma, Metatarsalgia, Hallux Limitus/Rigidus, Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Joint Disease and many other forefoot issues. If you are recovering from a Lisfranc's fracture or sprain, this is a great shoe to ease into after you have healed and are returning to proper shoes. It's also excellent for anyone with heel pain as well as knee, hip and lower back issues. 



Gentle Souls is a brand that recently caught my attention for their high quality shoes that offer women style and comfort. Although this shoe has a 3 inch heel height, the front platform is 3/4 inch resulting in a true heel height of 2-1/4 inches. I particularly like the wide soft toebox. Depending on how high your arch is, this shoe can also accommodate most custom-molded dress inserts. 


Expensive but well worth the money! What sets this shoe apart is the stretch elastic upper that is perfect for any painful protuberances such as bunions, hammertoes, corns, bone spurs and tender toes. It has a rigid sole and excellent (but soft) forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot control. 


This is a great shoe. 

It's almost the perfect shoe. 

The only drawback to this shoe is the open back makes it less than ideal for walking outdoors in rainy or snowy climates. It has a thick, rigid sole with excellent arch support for more comfort and protection. The wide toebox is exceptional for anyone with Bunions, Hammertoes, Morton's Neuroma, Metatarsalgia, Hallux Limitus/Rigidus, Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Capsulitis, and Tailor's Bunions. 

This Shoe is Recommended for Patients with:
*Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint)
* Degenerative Joint Disease
*Tailor's Bunions
*Morton's Neuroma
*Plantar Fasciits (Heel Pain)
*Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild Over-Pronators
*Knee, Hip and Lower Back Pain
*Sinus Tarsi Syndrome
*Mechanical Strain


The Wolky Dazzle is not as good as the Cloggy but it is a comfortable shoe for anyone who knows they can wear heels. Once again, I love the wide, soft toebox and the extra biomechanical control that the midfoot and rearfoot strap offers. The material is a soft suede upper with an adjustable strap for a better fit. The contoured footbed offers support and cushion while the wedge sole is made of shock absorbing materials. 


Okay, not the prettiest shoe ever to grace planet earth but, guess what, the Wolky Blossom is ridiculously comfortable! This is the winter version of the Wolky Jewel, which is an excellent sandal that I recommend to many of my patients. Wolky shoes are expensive but I always remind my patients that shoes are an investment. They will pay off (many times over) in less foot, knee, hip and lower back pain. 


I love the look of the Earthies Syriana! They have the thick, rigid and therefore protective sole. The criss-crossing midfoot and rearfoot strapping gives added biomechanical control of the foot and ankle. The forefoot area runs a bit narrower than I would like to see but otherwise, this is a comfortable and stylish shoe for anyone who knows they can wear heels. 



This adorable vintage looking shoe is perfect for anyone who knows they can comfortably wear a heel. It offers excellent midfoot and rearfoot control and the sole is rigid for more comfort and stability. One of the many reasons I like the Earthies shoes is that they offer good arch support within the shoe but, this shoe in particular, may be able to accommodate a custom-molded dress orthotic from your Podiatrist. If you get molded for dress orthotics, I recommend you take your favorite dress shoes so that your Podiatrist can make the prescription that will perfectly fit that shoe.


The Earthies Bristol is another dress shoe with exceptional forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot control. The bow is removable and the interior offers good arch support. The wedge in the front offers more protection and comfort for the forefoot. 


The Dansko Brand is not for everyone because it offers hard-core biomechanical control that is sometimes 'too much' for some patients. If you have any 'protuberances' or 'bumps' on your feet, you may have trouble finding a comfortable fit because the typical Dansko has very little give. 

That being said, Dansko shoes are fabulous! All of them have thick, rigid soles that are super-protective of the foot. If you work on your feet all day, especially on concrete or retail flooring - this may be the perfect shoe for you. When it comes to Dansko, I highly recommend that you go to the store to try them on. You are either going to love them or hate them. If you love them, make sure you only get the ones that have rearfoot strapping. 

Dansko shoes are notoriously heavy shoes so I do not recommend these for anyone who has muscular weakness, easily fatigued legs, drop foot, the elderly, or balance issues. 


Please see the review above for general information on Dansko shoes. The Dansko Nori is an exceptionally comfortable shoe for most people. This will not be a good choice for anyone with a high arch or an exostosis (i.e. bump or bone spur) on the top of their midfoot because this shoe will cause too much pressure on that area. 


This is my current go-to shoe for work. The best Dansko ever and the one that got me through my residency and all those hours on my feet on unforgiving hospital floors! For more information on this shoe, please go to the search box in the upper right hand corner as I did a more in depth review on this shoe several months ago. 


The Dansko Harlow is an excellent choice for someone who needs a lower heel than the Nori or the Reeny. It also is an excellent choice for someone who can't wear some of the other styles because of excessively high arches or bone spurring on the top of the midfoot area. The design of this shoe doesn't place any pressure on that area unlike some of the other Dansko styles.

This shoe is perfect for anyone who has metatarsalgia and mild Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint).


My shoe list is never complete until I included a John Fluevog! I adore John Fluevog shoes. This is an example of a lower heeled Fluevog shoe that offers comfort and style. They are pricey but, if you've ever indulged in purchasing a pair, you'll see why they are worth the money. I love the wide toebox and I love the look of the heel. If you have ankle instability or suffer with severe over-pronation, this is not the shoe for you. 

 I hope this was helpful!

Now the secret is out - this is how a true Podiatry shoe geek spends the Thanksgiving holiday...!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy



Check out my first novel which was written under my pen name C. Mack Lewis. It's available on Kindle or you can get a free Kindle app and download it to your iPad. 

Thank you for your support!



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Orthofeet: a Review of the Stretchable Mary Jane

Review of the Orthofeet Stretchable Mary Jane.

         The Orthofeet Stretchable Mary Jane is a wonderfully comfortable shoe for women who suffer from painful bunions, hammertoes, corns and toenails. This shoe has a thick rigid sole that limits motion across the bottom of the foot, which allows for more comfort. It’s also light and comes with an excellent insole that provides cushion and arch support for more biomechanical control of the foot and ankle, which translate into less knee, hip and lower back pain! The insole can be removed so that you can replace it with your custom-molded orthotic if needed.  
What sets this shoe apart from others is the Spandex toe box, which decreases pressure on tender toes. This shoe is considered an ‘Extra-Depth’ shoe, which means that it has extra room for the toes.
Many people aren’t aware that Medicare approves this type of shoe for most patients who suffer with diabetes with the added complications of diabetic neuropathy and/or peripheral arterial disease. Medicare has a wonderful program that pays for diabetic patients to receive one pair of extra-depth shoes with three sets of custom inserts (each lasting four months) each calendar year. Medicare provides this program for their diabetic patients because research has shown that if they get diabetic patients into proper shoes and inserts, Medicare saves billions of dollars in hospital bills resulting from diabetic ulcers, infections, and amputations. This is one of many styles of shoes that the Medicare program covers. 
If you aren’t diabetic, these shoes can be purchased from Footsmart.com and, if you are diabetic, many Podiatrists offer the extra depth shoe program through their offices. 
I recommend that if you are diabetic, make an appointment with your local Podiatrist for your annual diabetic exam and, he or she will determine if you are medically eligible for the program. If your Podiatrist doesn't offer the program through his or her office, you can request a prescription to send you out to a facility that does offer the program. We've offered this program to our patients for over a decade and the patients love the shoes and inserts for the comfort and I love it because it decreases diabetic related complications! Remember, if you are suffering with painful feet, I recommend that you follow up with your local Podiatrist for evaluation and treatment. There are many non-painful, non-surgical options that can significantly decrease your foot pain. As an added benefit, I also love the fact that Orthofeet shoes are made in America! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Scared Straight: Foot X-Rays that will scare you into better shoes.

Halloween Edition:

Scared Straight: 
X-Rays that (hopefully!) will scare you into better shoes...

I wanted to talk about why having a shoe with a thick rigid sole is so crucial for proper foot care. 

I have a patient who was kind enough to give me permission to use his story and his x-rays. He is a healthy thirty-something year old man who had a horrible motorcycle accident nine years ago. 

When I walked in the exam room, I immediately noticed that his complexion was grey and he looked like he was going to vomit. We talked and he told me that the last time he saw a Podiatrist he was told that he might need an amputation. I quickly eased his fears by telling him that we would only be talking about shoes and inserts and that we should be able to greatly improve his foot by making some simple, non-painful, non-surgical changes to his current shoes and inserts.  

He said that three days ago he was walking and heard a 'pop' and felt a pain in his right foot. He stated he didn't have any specific injury but was simply walking. I checked the shoes that he had been walking in and they had an extremely thin, flexible sole. 

Let's take a look at his first x-ray (Ignore the arrows please):

The three screws were placed across his Lisfranc's joint after the motorcycle accident. On the day of the accident, he was wearing a shoe with a flexible sole and, when his foot twisted, multiple bones were broken in the midfoot area and ankle. The surgeon had to perform a joint fusion by placing screws across the Lisfranc's joint. The idea behind this is that if you fuse the joint - you stabilize the joint, limit motion and thereby limit pain. Since the accident, he's always had some degree of foot pain but has managed to stay active. 

After the surgery, he didn't realize that he needed to stop walking barefoot and wearing flip-flops and that, after an injury like this, he needed to limit himself to shoes with a thick rigid sole for maximal protection. Not knowing this, he spent the last nine years wearing improper shoe gear.

 Let's take a closer look at those screws...


If you look closely, can you see that two of the three screws are broken? The two that are most vertical are the broken screws and, unfortunately, it is harder to see that the one on the right is broken in half - but it is.

My point being, if nine years worth of walking barefoot and wearing flip-flops causes enough stress through the Lisfranc's joint to break two titanium screws - what is all that stress and strain doing to your joints?

The strange part of this story is the problem is not the broken screws or the Lisfranc's joint. 

The problem is that he was wearing a flimsy sole shoe and the one  titanium screw that is intact and doing it's job of limiting motion across the joint was not allowing any motion and his body needed motion to walk. The stress on his foot was too much and his body found the motion he needed by breaking the third metatarsal. 

Take a look at the arrows. The real problem - the thing that is currently causing him pain - is the new broken bone on the third metatarsal. 

We placed him in a below-the-knee walking boot for two weeks and had him come back two weeks later for x-rays. 

Two weeks later, the third metatarsal fracture is more easily visualized because it is forming a 'bone callus', which is the body's way of trying to heal itself.

What's interesting is that the broken screws don't matter. They aren't causing any pain so they don't need to be removed. The plan is to heal the current fracture and, once it is healed, make sure he:

*Wears Rx Crocs 'Relief' around the house as a bedroom slipper
*Never walk barefoot or wear flimsy shoes or flip-flops
*Wears New Balance 928 as a walking shoe
*Wears custom-molded inserts 
*Wear dress shoes that have a thick rigid sole with a metal shank
*Wear a Tri-Lock Brace for sports and increased activities 

And he should be able to lead a normal, healthy, active life! 

The moral of the story is: protect your feet!
You'll have a healthier, happier life with less pain and injuries...

My best to all of you!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy


Monday, October 22, 2012

Best Choice for Comfortable Women's Ballet Slipper.

Dr. Marten's Christina

I am not a big fan of ballet slippers because most of them are super-crappy with zero support! After extensive research, Dr. Marten's Christina is the best ballet slipper that I have been able to find. I'm not saying that it's a good choice for everybody but I am saying that for certain people, this is the best choice I could find in the ballet slipper category. I would recommend that you pair this shoe with a dress orthotic to give added arch support for better biomechanical control, which will result in more comfort. 

If you have serious forefoot issues or work on your feet for long hours on concrete floors, this shoe is not going to be supportive enough. I would recommend that you 'bump up' to something with more support like the Dansko Volley. Remember to listen to your body! If you try this shoe (or any shoe) and it hurts or find yourself having increased discomfort as the day goes on - don't wear it. It's not good enough for you!

Under normal circumstances, I steer patients away from ballet slippers but I've had so many requests from people who want to know if there is any comfortable ballet slippers that they can wear that I decided to delve into it deeper. 

In general, any ballet slipper that bends or flexes is garbage and is going to cause more mechanical strain for your joints, tendons, ligament, ect. This leads to 'tired leg syndrome' and can make you more susceptible to injuries. What makes the Dr. Martin Christina decent is that it does have a thicker, more rigid sole than the typical ballet slipper. I would love to see it thicker and more rigid but - that is hard to find in a ballet slipper type shoe! 

I have one patient who loves the ballet slipper so much that I advised her to try this shoe and, if she was comfortable in it, take it to a Cobbler to add more support to the bottom for more protection.

This Shoe is Recommended For Patients with:
*Healthy feet
*No significant biomechanical issues
*No foot pain!

This Shoe is NOT Recommended For Patients with:
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation)
*Charcot Foot
*History of Ulcerations/Open Sores
*Ligament Laxity
*Ankle Instability
*History of Lisfranc's Fractures (Jone's Fracture)
*Morton's Neuromas
*Achilles Tendonitis
*Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Corns & Calluses

I know it's a limited list for who this shoe is 'recommended' for but if you have foot pain or any significant biomechanical foot or ankle issues, this is not the proper shoe for you. 

It is, however, the best choice for someone who is determined to wear ballet slippers and wants to decrease damage and increase comfort from your typical ballet slipper.

I hope this was helpful and I would love to hear any feedback you have on the Dr. Marten's Christina.


Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy 




Saturday, October 6, 2012

Danko Clog - Comfortable Shoe For Certain Foot Types.

The Dansko Clog

Let me preface this review by saying that the Dansko Clog is not for everyone! There are patients with certain foot types and medical conditions that I would never dream of putting into a Dansko Clog because it would be a disaster for their feet. That being said, I have many patients (including myself) where the Dansko Clog is the very definition of comfort. In Podiatry school, when I went from sitting all day in classes for two years to suddenly being thrown into 14 hour days on my feet on torturous concrete hospital floors for another four years of school and residency, I suffered horribly from heel pain, swelling in my feet and tired leg syndrome. I was a broke student and I made a very painful $95 splurge on purchasing the Dansko Clog and they were one of the best investments I've ever made!

What's great about the Dansko Clog is the thick, rigid and therefore very protective sole. I always feel extra safe wearing my Dansko clogs because if anyone ever tried to mug me, these shoes are so strong that I'm convinced I could effectively use them as a weapon (forgive me, I'm originally from New Jersey!). If you are suffering with forefoot pain of any kind, this may be the perfect shoe for you. They also have decent arch support, a wide toe-box and rear-foot control. I do not recommend the Dansko shoes that don't have rear-foot control as they force the person wearing them to scrunch down their toes to keep in the shoe, which can cause 'mechanical strain' and 'tired leg syndrome' at the end of a long day.

The Dansko Clogs do not accommodate any type of inserts but, in my experience, they don't need extra arch support. It is the one shoe where I don't have to (or need to) wear my orthotics. 

In general, the Dansko Clog is great for healthy, young, active patients who are on their feet all day, especially on concrete floors. I would never put anyone who is elderly or has any type of muscular or nerve disorder in these shoes as they are simply too heavy. 

Dansko Clogs Are Recommended For Patients With:
*Mild Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild Haglund's Deformity
*Mild to Severe Metatarsalgia
*Mild Bunions & Tailor's Bunions
*Mild to Moderate Hammertoes
*Morton's Neuroma
*Capsulitis of the Forefoot Joints
*Hallux Limitus (Limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint)
*Hallux Rigidus (No motion of the 1st toe joint)
*Mild to Moderate Osteoarthritis
*Possibly Mild Rheumatoid Arthritis
*Mild Tendonitis
*Mild to Possibly Moderate Over-Pronators
*Mild Hypermobility / Ligament Laxity
*Plantar Plate Injuries
*Patient's recovering or trying to heal from a fractured toe
*Patient's recovering from a fractured metatarsal bone (Check with your Pod!)
*Mild to Moderate Degenerative Joint Disease
*Over-Use Syndrome

Dansko Clogs Are NOT Recommended For Patients With:
*Weak legs
*Muscle disorders that cause instability or weakness of the legs
*Nerve disorders that cause weakness or instability of the legs
*Drop Foot
*Charcot Marie Tooth Disease
*Charcot Foot
*Diabetics with history of Ulcerations (Open sores)
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation)
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Balance Issues
*The Elderly
*Anyone with prominent "bumps" on their feet, especially on the top of the mid-foot area
*Painful Calluses on the bottom of the feet (because they need more cushion in the shoe)
*Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis  (because they need more cushion in the shoe)
*Severe Hypermobility / Ligament Laxity
*Ankle Instability

My best advice to you is go to a store and try them on. You are either going to love them or hate them! Every time I put on my Dansko clogs, I feel like they have been custom made for my feet and can stay on my feet all day in comfort.

I hope this was helpful!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Merrell Encore Breeze: A Comfortable Casual Shoe for Anyone with Bunions & Hammertoes...

Encore Breeze.

This is a great shoe for anyone who suffers with large painful bunions or hammertoes! Although there are shoes with more rigid and protective soles - what sets apart the Encore Breeze is it's wonderfully wide and soft toe-box. The toe-box is made of a breathable and soft mesh upper that applies minimal  pressure on bunions and hammertoes.

The 'lip' in the back provides enough rear-foot control so that the shoe stays firmly on your foot when you are walking but also allows for you to easily slide it on without bending or stooping. This comes in handy for anyone with severe back pain or who has trouble bending. The insert is removable and can be replaced by your custom-molded orthotic or a superior over-the-counter arch support, which will allow for better biomechanical control of the foot and, therefore, more comfort. 

The Merrell Encore Breeze is not the best choice for someone who is super-active or doing vigorous activities. It is, however, a great choice for someone more sedentary who is wearing them for casual activities or even as a shoe to wear around the house. 

This Shoe IS Recommended For Patients With:
*Mild to Severe Bunions
*Mild to Severe Hammertoes
*Mild to Severe Corns & Calluses (See your Podiatrist for periodic debridement to alleviate the pain of corns & calluses!)
*Mild to Moderate Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion across the 1st toe joint)
*Hallux Rigidus in elderly and sedentary patients
*Mild Tendonitis
*Mild to Severe Haglund's Deformity
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis 
*Mild Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Mild Morton's Neuroma 
*Mild Capsulitis
*Mild Metatarsalgia
*Mild to Moderate Osteoarthritis 
*Mild to Moderate Rheumatoid Arthritis
*Mild Over-Pronation (I recommend that you wear your custom-molded orthotics or an excellent over-the-counter insert for more arch control)
*Anyone who has trouble reaching their feet to put on their shoes
*The Elderly 

This Shoe Is NOT Recommended For Patients with: 
*Hallux Rigidus in super-active patients 
*Hallux Limitus in super-active patients
*Diabetics with a history of Ulcerations
*Charcot Foot
*Drop Foot
*Patients wearing Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO Brace) 
*Moderate to Severe Hypermobility/Ligament Laxity
*Ankle Instability
*Osteoarthritis of the Ankle Joint

This shoe MAY be appropriate for patients with certain conditions but please check with your Podiatrist to make sure that it is appropriate for you...
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation) 
*Leg Weakness
*Muscle Weakness

*For more information, please see my articles within the blog entitled:

My Feet Hurt: Top Ten Things To Do To Alleviate Foot Pain Today.
Shoe Recommendations For Patients Recovering From Lisfranc's Injuries.

Have a wonderful day!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Easy Spirit Traveltime - Comfort Shoe For People Who Have Difficulty Reaching Thier Feet.

Easy Spirit Traveltime:

This is a fabulous shoe for patients who need a comfortable shoe but have trouble reaching their feet. There are many reasons people have trouble putting on shoes and tying the laces - everything from severe arthritis in the hands, hips or lower back to having dizziness with bending, being a fall risk, and having balance issues. Patients recovering from hip and back surgery often have trouble bending and putting on shoes during the early period of their recovery. 

What's great about this shoe is that the rearfoot has a 'lip' that is high enough to keep your heel firmly in place but also allows for you to be able to slip your foot into the shoe without having to bend down. It's an extremely light shoe and perfect for elderly patients. 

It has a relatively thick, rigid sole that is light and supportive. I would not recommend this shoe for someone who is young and doing extreme activities (running, jogging, ect) but it is perfect for an older, more sedentary person who is active but not doing extreme activities. It has a wide, soft toebox, midfoot control and enough rearfoot control to make them exceptionally comfortable. 

I would recommend that you remove the insert from this shoe and replace it with your custom-molded orthotic or an excellent over-the-counter insert so that you have better arch support, which will help decrease knee, hip and lower back pain. You can purchase an over-the-counter insert from your Podiatrist or purchase other over-the-counter inserts online or in the store.

This Shoe IS Recommended For Sedentary or Elderly Patients with:
*Mild to Moderate Bunions
*Mild to Moderate Hammertoes
*Mild to Moderate Tailor's Bunions
*Mild to Moderate Capsulitis
*Mild to Severe Osteoarthritis
*Mild to Moderate Hallux Limitus (Limited Range of Motion Across the 1st Toe Joint)
*Knee, Hip and Lower Back Pain
*Mild Tendonitis
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild to Severe "Bumps" on the back of the Heel
*Mild to Severe Haglund's Deformity
*Mild to Moderate Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Painful Toes
*Mild Morton's Neuromas
*Leg/Muscle Weakness
*Patients who have difficulty reaching their feet  
*Mild Hyper-Mobility (wear an orthotic or OTC arch support!)
*Mild Over-Pronation

This Shoe Is NOT Recommended For Patients with:
*Severe Hallux Limitus/Rigidus (Limited or No Range of Motion Across the 1st Toe Joint) for a young and active patient. 
*Charcot Foot 
*History of Ulcerations 
*Moderate to Severe Over-Pronation
*Moderate to Severe Hypermobility or Ligament Laxity
*Ankle Instability

This Shoe MAY Be Recommended For Patients with:  
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation)
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)  

*Please check with your Podiatrist to see if the Easy Spirit Traveltime shoe is appropriate for you if you have diabetes, neuropathy or poor circulation. 

I hope this was helpful!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy 


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Your Feet On X-Ray: Barefoot vs. Pointy-Toe High Heels...

X-Ray of a Patient's Foot
After a Lifetime of Improper Shoegear...

X-Ray of an eighty year old patient's foot who wore "pointy-toe high heels" for years.

 X-Rays of My Feet in

Barefoot vs. Pointy Toe Shoes...

The first questions I always get when I first show patients their x-rays is: what are those two 'circle things'? Those are bones called 'sesmoids' and they are normal and are located under the ball of your first toe joint. The first x-ray of my foot is me standing barefoot. The second x-ray is looking straight down on my foot in a high heel pointy-toe dress shoe. 

I've labelled the 'medial cunneiform' bone as #1 and the 'navicular bone' as #2, which gives you an appreciation of the angle that the foot in a three inch high heeled shoe. I also cut the second x-ray in the shape of the actual shoe that my foot was in and I outlined the bones on x-ray with a Sharpie pen so that the bones could be more easily visualized. My photos don't do the x-rays justice but, hopefully, they will give an appreciation of what happens to your toes inside of pointy-toe shoes.

I always recommend that if you wear high-heeled shoes - try to find shoes with a wide, soft toebox. Pointy toed shoes can cause hammertoes, bunions, corns, calluses, Morton's Neuromas and osteoarthritic joint changes that are painful and cosmetically unpleasing. 

If you are looking for a comfortable high heels - look for a shoe with a thick, rigid wedge sole, rearfoot strapping and, of course, the soft and wide toebox.

Check out my list of
"Top 20 Comfortable Women's Dress Shoes"
by using the 'search' box at the upper right of the blog.

Hope all is well,

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy

If Your Feet Hurt - Read This!

 This is a 're-run' of my most 
comprehensive article...

Although this article is focused on patients recovering from Lisfranc's Injuries - this article covers everything you need to know about finding comfortable shoes and getting significant improvements in foot, knee, hip and lower back pain.


Shoe Recommendations 
For Patients Recovering From
Lisfranc Injuries...
(As well as any Sprain or Fracture of the Foot)

I know this sounds terrible but 
I love treating fractures...

I enjoy treating patients with fractures because:

1. On the 1st visit, patients will leave the office in significantly less pain than when they walked into the office using simple non-painful conservative treatment. 

2. Once the fracture is healed - we focus on getting patients into proper shoegear, arch support and possibly bracing so they can get back to doing all the activities they enjoy! 

I love my profession because I have the opportunity of helping people heal from foot and ankle injuries and get back to their lives.
Over the years, I have discovered that if patients follow the recommendations below - our success rate is amazingly high!


So, let's talk about Lisfranc Injuries...
The Lisfranc Joint (also known as the Mid-Tarsal Joint) is in the midfoot and, in my opinion, it is the most common foot injury. 
Although it can be caused by direct trauma (and if that happens - you are going to the Emergency Room and possibly having surgery), I find that the wide majority of Lisfranc Fractures or Sprains are caused by an often minor twisting of your foot on a stair or curb and, if you happen to be barefoot, wearing flip-flops or a shoe that bends through the midfoot area - there is a very high probability that you are going to break a bone or pop a ligament.  

I see this type of fracture every single day
One day last week I saw four Lisfranc fractures before lunch. The amazing thing was not one of them knew how they did it!

In my opinion, this fracture is caused by taking a
wrong step in a crappy shoe!
And it's not you're fault because 
80% of shoes out there are crappy 
and there is tons of misinformation about what makes a good shoe...

One of the main reasons I started the blog was because of my frustration with all of the misinformation about shoes.
I'm passionate about this topic because I have spent the last twelve years in private practice striving to help people heal foot injuries and get back to their lives.

These Rules Are Stringent 
You ARE Recovering from a Foot Fracture
and you need to protect your foot!
You went through a lot of pain and time in "the boot" or on crutches to take the chance of wearing bad shoegear and re-injuring...



1. No barefoot! 
The only time you are barefoot and standing is in the shower. 
2. No Flip-Flops. 
I don't care how "good" they say the flip-flops are - they're not. 

3. No Walking Around the House Wearing
Only Socks.
 Zero biomechanical protection. 

4. No Flimsy Bedroom Slippers.
Any slipper that bends or flexes is garbage.

5. As a bedroom slipper around the house - wear Croc RX Clogs with the strap 
in the back.  
As soon as you get out of the shower, dry yourself, put on your Crocs.
If you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, when you get out of bed, straight into your Crocs and off you go.
Yup, the strap MUST be to the back. 


1. A Thick Rigid Sole
If you can bend or flex it - it is garbage.
Put some muscle into it, please - no wimpy "bends"...

2. Arch Support
Whether it is Custom-Molded Arch Support or an Excellent Over-The-Counter Insert - you need arch support.
Unless you are one of the 10% of people who can't tolerate arch support in which case, do not wear arch support. 

3. A Wide, Soft Square Toebox. 
Google: Extra-Depth Shoes and there are many brands of shoes that have extra-depth for the toes.
No cock-roach kickers, please -- they are bunion factories. 

4. Rearfoot Control. 
Every single shoe MUST have rearfoot control. 
If you are not biomechanically controlling the rearfoot - you are not controlling the mid-foot - which will lead to more chance of re-injury, pain, strain as well as knee, hip and lower back mechanical strain. 
To stay in a backless shoe, you are gripping your toes down when you walk. There are tendons that start below the knee and go all the way down to your toes - they are also passing through or connecting into the bones that make up the Lisfranc's Joint and a biomechanically uncontrolled rearfoot equals more strain, more pain and more chance of re-injury. 

(Any midfoot fracture or Injury)

Good Morning!
 I have to let the dog out so I guess I'll get out of bed and right into my Crox RX Clogs 
(making sure that the strap is to the back) and let the dog out. She's fascinated with the Geckos and Hummingbirds...

I'm going to put on my Diabetic socks (even though I'm not diabetic), my Tri-Lock Brace, which I got from my Podiatrist and I use when exercising (for at least 6-12 months after a Lisfranc's Injury) and I'm going to put on my 
New Balance walking shoes so I can take my dog for a thirty minute walk. 
Luckily, my Podiatrist sent me to the New Balance store and gave me a prescription for:
New Balance Walking Shoes
with Roll Bar Technology and
a wide base for more stability
(Because it's an RX and medically necessary it should make them tax deductible...)

My foot feels pretty good so I don't need to wear my brace to work today -- but I'm going to take my Tri-lock brace to work so that if my foot hurts I can put it on. 
I went to Dr. McCarthy's blog and found the search box (top right hand corner) and searched for:
"Top 20 Women's Comfortable Dress Shoes"
and found a great shoe for work. 
I wrote down what I liked and went to the store to try them on -- my brace fit into some of them but not all so, in the early days of recovering from my injury, I wore the chunkier shoes with my brace and once I was further along in the healing process, I didn't need my brace anymore. 
Anything on this list would be fine with someone who has healed from a foot fracture
because I know all of these shoes meet her criteria on that stringent list from her blog...

Go Play!
Wow, I can't believe it! Work shut down early and now I can go do whatever I want! 
Let's look and my options...

I'm going to wear my Amphibious Teva's or Chaco's (with a rearfoot strap) whether I am on the sand or in the water because it'll be more comfortable and I'll have more fun. 

Water Aerobics
Am I going to do water aerobics barefoot? 
Oh heck no! 
My Pod told me she sees a surprising number of fractures from women bouncing around in the swimming pool -- I think I'll wear my Amphibeous Teva's (with rearfoot strapping). Right after I was recovering from my foot fracture, I had to wear a pair of New Balance Walking Shoes with Roll Bar Technology and a wide base (for more stability) in the pool

I didn't like any of the hiking boots Dr. McCarthy featured on her blog so I went to REI and I picked out a boot I liked but I made sure that the sole didn't flex or bend. The salespeople must have thought I was crazy because I walked around -- bending and flexing all the shoes before I tried them on. I then picked a great boot that felt the best on my foot and met all Dr. McCarthy's criteria for proper shoes. 
She told me that no matter what she says, 
I'm the acid test. 
 If I try on a shoe and it's not comfortable -- 
I don't get it. 
I don't care what anybody thinks! 
I went through too much to get my foot healed to risk re-injuring it by being barefoot so I am going to wear my New Balance walking shoes with Roll-Bar Technology and a wide base
I love Yoga and I want to keep doing it so 
Dr. McCarthy wrote me a prescription that I gave to my Yoga studio that says it's medically necessary for my to wear my shoes in class. 

Home at Last!
I used to not want to wear my Croc RX Clogs around my husband because I thought they were goofy but, guess what -- I got him in Crocs Rx around the house and he had the following benefits:

30% Improvement in knee, hip and lower back pain within 3 weeks.

We saved a truckload of money in medical bills - everything from foreign bodies, warts, tendonitis, fractures, heel pain, calluses, ect.

His feet are prettier! 
Turns out that kooky Dr. McCarthy was right! She said, "You're either beating up your feet or you're beating up your shoes -- think what your shoes look like after a couple of years -- that's what's happening to your joints."

Good Night!
I'm so glad that my day tomorrow doesn't include going to see my Podiatrist! 
We got the fracture healed and as long as I do the right things when it comes to protecting my feet, 
I don't need to see her. 
I can live my life and have fun!

I wonder why a Podiatrist would be giving out advice that would decrease her business?
 Hmm, I wonder if it's because she figures it's a better marketing plan to fix people's foot problems and then protect their feet with proper shoes so they don't need to keep constanly coming back and she gets new clients from "Word of Mouth" referals from happy patients? 
That must be it...

Have a Great Day!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy