Featured Post

Thinking About Foot Surgery? Ten Things You Need To Think About BEFORE You Have Foot Surgery.

Ten Things You Need To Think About BEFORE  You Have Foot Surgery. 1. You need to exhaust conservative treatment before you decide...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

How to get the cool Converse look - with more support and comfort for your feet.

Platform Converse 

Yes, hipsters of the world, there is a God...

"Chuck Taylor All Stars" were invented in 1917 and have been the cool shoe that has been offering horrible support for almost one hundred years. 

Until 2013! 

Now, I'm not saying that the Converse Platform is perfect BUT it is a great alternative for patients (hello Pediatrics and Hipsters) who want the Converse look but have biomechanically challenged feet. 

I can't tell you how sad it makes me when I have to tell a kid that their beloved Converse All Stars are not good for their feet and they should not be wearing them. I won't lie to you - I've seen grown men cry over this. I'm glad my practice is on the ground floor because, otherwise, I'd spend a good portion of my day talking patients off the ledge. I can usually coax the pediatric patients into the concept of giving up their Converse when I tell them about some of the other cool shoes they can wear, like Nike Shox (the ones with the rigid sole) and the Brooks 'Beast'. The boys love it when I prescribe the 'Brooks Beast', which taps into some primal guy thing that makes their eyes light up at the thought of wearing something with the name 'beast' on their feet. Another running shoe that is great for the Pediatric patients is the New Balance 1540 (not as cool, but they are excellent).

On a personal note, my husband still has not noticed that I 'retired' all his Converse All Stars from our closet (cue evil laugh) and I have been slowly, insidiously replacing all his crap-Converse shoes with supportive shoes that feel great but are cool enough for the advertising world that he works in, which, by the way, is much cooler than my Podiatry world of biomechanical control and good arch support. Going to a party filled with Advertising people versus a party filled with Podiatrists - a jarring experience - much like landing on two different planets with alternate realities - but in a good way.

Needless to say, the Platform Converse is a great alternative to the traditional Converse All Star with it's thin, flexible sole that offers no support and can increase the likeliood of painful fractures, sprains, bunions, hammertoes and a multitude of other injuries. 
Because the platform Converse has a thick and more rigid sole, it is far more protective of the foot joints, muscles and tendons, which makes it more comfortable and decrease the chance of injury. It also meets the criteria of having forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot control that is crucial in what makes a shoe more comfortable. 

I would highly recommend that if you choose to wear this shoe that you wear a custom-molded dress orthotic. A functional orthotic will not fit in this shoe, but a dress orthotic should work nicely. Talk to your Podiatrist about getting custom-molded orthotics. Many people do not realize that their insurance pays for orthotics, which are often covered because insurance companies understand that proper arch support can prevent many foot, knee, hip and lower back issues as well as prevent foot deformities such as bunions. 

The Platform Converse is NOT appropriate for anyone with:
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation)
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Charcot Foot
*Drop Foot 
*Severe Hypermobility
*Severe Over-Pronation
*Muscle Weakness
*Balance Issues
*History of Ulcerations 
*History of Falling
*Severe Ankle Instability

Have a wonderful day,

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy


**The Plateform Converse is a fashion statement shoe - I am not recommending this for any type of sports. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Top Picks for Comfortable Easy Spirit Women's Dress Shoes

Podiatry Recommended
Top Picks 
For Comfortable Women's Shoes
From the Easy Spirit Anti-Gravity Collection
Fall 2013






These are my top picks for women's comfortable shoes from the Easy Spirit Anti-Gravity Collection. I've included summer sandals for my Arizona patients since we wear them through the winter as well as  boots and enclosed dress shoes for those women living in colder climates. 

What makes these shoes 'top picks' for comfort are the fact that they have thick, rigid soles that offer more protection for the foot joints as well as good forefoot and rearfoot control, which helps decrease mechanical strain for more comfort and less chance of injury. If you can bend or flex a shoe - it is not good enough for you! When you are walking, if a shoe bends and flexes, it is allowing motion across your foot joints, which causes 'wear and tear', inflammation, swelling and an increased risk of pain as well as injury. It is a counter-intuitive concept, but comfort in shoes is about having a thick and rigid, non-flexible sole, a soft and wide toebox, arch support and rearfoot control. If a joint hurts and is damaged (osteoarthritis, to name only one example) - the last thing you want to do is continuously force motion through it. You want to protect it with less motion so that it hurts less and you stop damaging and already painful and damaged joint. 

I would highly recommend wearing the Brassie, Oroco and the Menke with a custom-dress orthotic for more comfort and biomechanical control of the foot and ankle. If you do not have a dress orthotic, talk to your Podiatrist as they are often covered under various insurance plans or you can cash pay. Dress orthotics made by Podiatrists can last for years and, when they get old, can be refurbished to look like new. Another option is the get a heat-molded dress insert, which can be purchased from many Podiatry offices and are less expensive than custom-molded inserts. A third option is to get a good over-the-counter dress orthotic that is thin but gives you semi-flexible to rigid arch control, depending on your particular foot condition. Having good arch support will help to slow or stop the progression of bunions and can significantly help with knee, hip and lower back pain. 

These Shoes are Recommended for Patient with:
*Mild to Moderate Bunions
*Mild to Moderate Tailor's Bunions
*Mild to Moderate Hammertoes
*Mild to moderate Over-Pronation (wear with a dress orthotic)
*Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Achilles Tendonitis
*Mild Hypermobility
*Mild Osteoarthritis
*Mild to possibly Moderate Hallux Limitus (Limited Range of Motion of the 1st toe Joint)
*Mild Rheumatoid Arthitis
*Mild Morton's Neuroma
*Mild Capsulitis
*Corns and Calluses

These Shoes are NOT Recommended for Patients with:
*Charcot Foot
*Severe Hypermobility
*Severe Over-Pronation
*Diabetics with a history of Ulceration (Open Sores)
*Peripheral Arterial Disease with a history of Ulceration 
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Foot Drop
*Balance Issues
*High Fall Risk Patients
*Hallux Rigidus (No motion at the 1st toe joint because of severe arthritis or a surgical fusion - unless your surgeon fused you at 15 degrees of dorsiflextion - in which case you can possibly wear the lower heels) 

**If you are diabetic, have nerve damage, poor circulation or any other serious foot issues, please check with your Podiatrist to see if these shoes are appropriate for your particular foot issues. I always encourage patients to bring in one bag of shoes so that we can check them together and discuss what is good and bad about each shoe. It helps the patient understand what they are looking for in a good shoe and saves them money when they are shopping. Also, what works biomechanically for one person is not always appropriate for another patient with a different foot issue or foot type. 

For more information on what makes a comfortable shoe, please use the search box in this blog to look up my articles:

'My Feet Hurt: Top Ten Things to do to Alleviate Foot Pain' 


'Shoe Recommendations for Patients Recovering From a Lisfrac's Injury'

Have a great day!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy