Voted "Top Doctor" in Phoenix Magazine's April 2014, 2015 & 2016 issues, Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy discusses and recommends shoes for people of all ages with a multitude of podiatric problems. My goal is to help you find good looking shoes that are good for your feet and are pathology specific. For an appointment at our North Scottsdale office, please schedule an appointment by calling (480) 563 5115. For more information, please visit www.pinnaclepeakpodiatry.com
"I've been wearing heels for years and I've never had any foot problems" -
I would say, "You're one of the lucky ones -
In my mind,
it's the same thing as the person who says,
"My dad's been smoking a pack a day of cigarettes for fifty years and he's never had a problem."
In both cases,
the only way to figure out if you are one of the 'lucky ones' that won't develop foot pain or
lung cancer is -
you have to wear heels and smoke like a chimney for years and see what happens...
It's a gamble!
Don't gamble with your body!
Protecting your feet and taking care of your body will significantly improve your quality of life, keep you active longer and decrease the chance of injury.
Let's talk feet...
Please don't get me wrong -
I'm not against wearing high heels!
I do, however, have specific recommendations for the type of shoes you should be looking for if you want to wear high heels based on your individual biomechanics.
There are many women who will not be able to tolerate high heels due to the genetic biomechanical structure of their feet.
Whether or not you can tolerate high heels is directly related to the biomechanical structure of your feet.
The biomechanical structure of your feet is genetic and runs in families and it can also be
related to previous injury.
If you have Hallux Limitus, which is decreased motion of your first toe joint and you try to wear an ultra high heel
(i.e. you are trying to push motion through a joint that doesn't have motion)
you are at risk for developing bone spurs, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease and lateral ankle strain (to name a few).
Determining what type of shoe that works best for you is pathology specific!
Basically, what type of biomechanical foot structure you have or what type of foot problems you have will determine what type of shoe will be ideal for you...
What works for one person, will not necessarily work for another person.
Let's look at some pictures...
Ah, yes, those were the days!
And, yes, they did come out of my closet and, although I haven't worn them in two decades,
I can't bring myself to throw them away.
You know what I'm talking about, ladies...
What's wrong with these heels:
1. With a true heel height of 3 and 1/2 inches, they are too high and putting too much pressure across my foot and ankle joints - not to mention my knee, hip and lower back, which can cause joint damage, muscle strain, tendonitis, bunions, hammertoes and a multitude of other problems.
2. There is no midfoot or rearfoot strapping, which is forcing me to put more strain and wear-and-tear on my tendons, joints, and muscles - not to mention my knees, hips and lower back. With no rearfoot strapping, I am struggling to keep my foot in this shoe!
I am crunching down my toes so that I can stay in the shoe, which causes more inflammation, swelling, strain and damage.
This can cause 'Tired Leg Syndrome' as well as a multitude of other problems.
3. The combination of the aggressive angle of the high heel and lack of midfoot and rearfoot strapping is forcing my joints, tendons and muscle to struggle to stay in my shoe.
Why this heel is better than the previous heel:
1. Because of the wedge style, this shoe has a true heel height of 3 inches. I'm getting the height (for fashion) but not as aggressive 'tilt' on my foot and ankle joints as the previous shoe.
2. There is midfoot and rearfoot control, which helps decrease mechanical strain, the chance of injury and pain.
3. This heel will not work for everyone, but it is better than the first shoe we looked at...
This is the Dansko Rowena and it is currently my 'go-to' casual heels to wear with jeans.
Why this shoe is better than the
previous two shoes choices:
1. The wedge in the front of the shoe is thick and rigid for more biomechanical control and increased protection for the foot structures such as joints, tendons and muscles.
The true heel height is 2 and 1/8 inches.
2. There is midfoot and rearfoot control for more biomechanical control, which means less strain and more comfort.
Wearing high heels
changes your gait and the biomechanics
of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and
lower back and...
Inappropriate High Heels can cause:
*Degenerative Joint Disease
*Plantar Plate Injury
*Lateral Ankle Strain
*Knee, Hip & Lower Back Pain
*Corns & Calluses
For Recommendations for Comfortable Shoes that are Pathology Specific -
This is a great shoe for the man in your life who needs a comfortable slip-on shoe!
I have many patients who have trouble reaching their feet because of hip and knee replacements, severe arthritis, back pain or because they are elderly.
If you get a long-handled shoe horn, these are great shoes that are easy to get on.
The problem with the typical slip-on shoes are that there is no rearfoot control so that the person who purchases a slip-on shoe with no back to it
ends up getting less biomechanical control of the foot, which is counterproductive because it causes more strain to their knees, hips and lower back.
With this shoe, you kill two birds with one stone...
Using a long-handled shoe horn (or not - it's not required, simply helpful), these shoes are easy to slip on and once you have them on, you have the rearfoot control that offers more protection and biomechanical control,
which will decrease pain, strain and
chance of injury.
A shoe with no rearfoot control forces the person wearing them to put more mechanical strain on their joints, muscles, and tendons to hold the shoe on their foot.
In other words, this shoe is far more comfortable than a slip-on shoe with no back to it.
The WWM756 offers a thick rigid sole, which is protective of the foot. It also has a wide soft toebox, which is great for patients who need more room to accommodate their hammertoes and bunions. The insert inside the shoe can be replaced by a custom-molded insert or over-the-counter insert that offers more arch support for better biomechanical control.
And it's a nice looking shoe!
THIS SHOE IS RECOMMENDED FOR PATIENTS WITH:
*Previous Lisfranc's Injury
*Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Patients with Balance Issues
WITH YOUR PODIATRIST'S APPROVAL, THE WWM756 MAY BE RECOMMENDED FOR PATIENTS WITH:
men's work boot and, at $291.95, will be well worth the money you spend and a great investment in your foot health!
And it is an investment!!
Talk to you Podiatrist to see if you are eligible to get a prescription stating this boot is
'medically necessary' for your foot condition.
That helps to defray the cost by making it
tax deductible and may even be covered by your HSA through your insurance.
The p.w. minor Hercules is
an orthopedic work boot that offers
25% more extra-depth for the foot
and is built to accommodate a
The 8" height of the boot allows for more biomechanical control of the ankle, which helps with knee, hip and lower back pain and will be of particular value if you over-pronate, over-supinate, "roll in" or "roll out" when you walk.
The inside is lined with "Ultra Soft",
which is a microbial material
that wicks away moisture and it has
for the collar and tongue.
The boot has a metal shank, which is very protective and allows for less motion of the foot joints, which means less 'wear-and-tear' on the foot and ankle structures, decreased chance of injury and superior comfort.
I also love that this company has a
"Different Sized Feet" Program
for people with two different sized feet.
For this program,
Widths are available in A - 5E.
This Boot IS Recommended for Patients with:
*Mild to Severe Hammertoes
*Mild to Moderate Bunions & Tailor's Bunions
*Mild to Severe Metatarsalgia
*Hallux Limitus (Limited Range of Motion of the 1st Toe Joint
*Hallux Rigidus (No Motion at the 1st Toe Joint)
*Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain) - I would recommended that you get a custom-molded orthotic, a good over-the-counter insert or heel cups.
*Mechanical Strain caused by poor biomechanics
*Chronic Ankle Sprainers
*Knee, Hip and Lower Back Pain
*Corns and Calluses (Go to your Podiatrist to get them debrided or 'pared down' periodically to significantly reduce pain and risk of ulceration!)
This Boot is NOT Recommended For Patients with:
*Nerve Damage that causes weak or flaccid legs
This Boot MAY work for Patients with...
(Check with your Podiatrist so that he or she can give a specific recommendation to you based on the nature and extent of your foot condition):
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage) - Your Podiatrist will determine if this is the proper boot for you!
What's great about this shoe is the thick, rigid and protective sole that offers maximal protection
to the foot and ankle structures.
It also has excellent strapping
that provides forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot biomechanical control, which provides less wear-and-tear on the joints, less chance of injury and increased comfort.
There is a subtle flap under the straps in the front of the ankle so - if you have any "bumps" such as painful bone spurs of ganglions in that area - this feature may cause you some discomfort and this may not be a good shoe choice for you.
As always, Naot has an anatomic cork & latex footbed that molds to the shape of the foot, which is one of it's most popular features and sets it apart from most shoes.
In general, any Naot shoe that has rearfoot strapping is excellent.
I don't recommend the Naot sandals without rearfoot strapping because (in my opinion)
it causes the person as they walk to grip down his or her toes to stay in the shoe, which can lead to irritation and progression of such forefoot problems as:
Hammertoes, Calluses, Morton's Neuromas, Capsulitis of the Forefoot Joints, Plantar Plate Injuries and Joint Damage.
This shoe is also lightweight
and offers a narrow to medium fit.
This Shoe should be able to be worn comfortably by Patients with:
*Mild Plantar Fascitiis (Heel Pain)
*Mild Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild Bunions & Tailor's Bunions
*Mild Morton's Neuroma
*Corns & Calluses
This Shoe May NOT Be Comfortable for Patients with:
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation)
*History of Ulcerations
*Hallux Limitus (Limited Range of Motion of the 1st Toe Joint)
*Hallux Rigidus (No motion across the 1st Toe Joint)
*Moderate to Severe Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
*Moderate to Severe Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis
*Moderate to Severe Capsulitis
*Moderate to Severee Plantar Plate Injury and/or Pain