A guide to selecting the right footwear for your feet.

Most foot and ankle injuries are avoidable if one chooses the right footwear. While style is an important consideration while selecting shoes, one fundamental rule must be followed to avoid injuries and deformities – while wearing the shoe, the foot’s natural shape should be maintained. A shoe must not force the foot’s natural shape to fit the shoe’s shape. Shoes that do not fit can cause bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes and other disabling foot disorders.

While style is often a key consideration in choosing a pair of shoes, the most important quality to look for in shoes is durable construction that will protect your feet and keep them comfortable, avoiding injuries in the process.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has developed tips to help people reduce their risk of foot problems.

  1. Have both feet measured every time you purchase shoes. Your foot size increases as you get older.
  2. Women should not wear a shoe with a heel higher than 2 1/4 inches.
  3. Try on new shoes at the end of the day. Your feet normally swell and become larger after standing or sitting during the day.
  4. Shoes should be fitted carefully to your heel as well as your toes.
  5. Try on both shoes.
  6. There should be 1/2-inch space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe.
  7. Fit new shoes to your largest foot. Most people have one foot larger than the other.
  8. Walk around in the shoes to make sure they fit well and feel comfortable.
  9. Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Judge a shoe by how it fits on your foot not by the marked size.
  10. When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.
  11. If the shoes feel too tight. don't buy them. There is no such thing as a "break-in period."
  12. Most high heeled-shoes have a pointed. narrow toe box that crowds the toes and forces them into an unnatural triangular shape. As heel height increases, the pressure under the ball of the foot may double, placing greater pressure on the forefoot as it is forced into the pointed toe box.

Tips for Proper Shoe Fit- Bunion Corner

Since tight-fitting shoes are a common cause of bunions, and can worsen an existing bunion, it is important to ensure that your shoes fit correctly. Ideal footwear for bunion afflicted feet should have wide insteps, broad toes, and soft soles. Avoid shoes that are too short, tight, or sharply pointed, and those with heels higher than a couple of inches. Higher-heeled shoes put more pressure on the forefoot and increase the likelihood of foot problems or injury.

The following tips will help you choose a shoe that fits correctly:

  1. Do not select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe. Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Judge the shoe by how it fits on your foot.
  2. Select a shoe that conforms as nearly as possible to the shape of your foot.
  3. Have your feet measured regularly. The size of your feet changes as you grow older.
  4. Have both feet measured. Most people have one foot larger than the other. Fit to the largest foot.
  5. Fit at the end of the day when your feet are the largest.
  6. Stand during the fitting process and check that there is adequate space (3/8" to 1/2") for your longest toe at the end of the shoe.
  7. Make sure the ball of your foot fits well into the widest part (ball pocket) of the shoe.
  8. Do not purchase shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to "stretch" to fit.
  9. Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slippage.
  10. Walk in the shoe to make sure it fits and feels right. Fashionable shoes can be comfortable.

Reference Pic above: (Left) Avoid narrow, pointed shoes that squeeze the toes. (Right) Instead, look for shoes with a roomy toe box.

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