By: Dr. Dale Charrette
There is one constant in most people’s lives, we all wear shoes. A shoe is like a book. If you know how to read one, you can learn a great deal. This article is intended to give you information on how read your shoes, or if you are a health professional, read your patient’s shoes, which will tell you a lot about your posture.
Worn out shoes and shoes that do not fit properly can interfere with the feet, pelvis and spine. A study showed that 88% of women wear shoes that are smaller than their feet, and this same study showed that 80% of those women reported some sort of foot pain, and 76% had some sort of forfoot problem.
Fit is Critical
Putting your foot into a shoe is like putting it into a cast. Poor-fitting, unsupportive shoes can cause problems. If you are supported in your shoes in a proper weight bearing posture, you should be able touch the large toe joint and find it positioned at the widest part of the shoe. Basically, if the joint of the big toe is forward of this area, the shoe is too short. ( My experience is that you will rarely find a shoe too long) When the shoe does not fit right, it is usually short and wide. Shoes that are broken down, the tops of the shoes pushed to the side, with uneven heel and sole wear usually tell the story. Here is what it all means:
Heel wear should be even on both sides, if the wear is only on one side, this means that there is postural weakness on that side. From a clinical point of view, as a Doctor of Chiropractic, I find that the shoe that has the most wear is on the same side as the patient’s knee, hip or spinal problem. You will find that if you follow the heel wear, you will find the corresponding postural problem, as it always shoes up in the shoes.
Turn your shoe over and look at the sole wear. Start at the toe and let your eyes follow the sole wear toward the heel. At the point at which the sole wear “feathers out” and stops draw a horizontal line with a pencil or chalk. Repeat the same procedure on the other shoe. Then notice which shoe demonstrates sole wear closest to the heel. If one shoe has more sole wear that foot has broken down biomechancially, leading to fast shoe breakdown on that foot, and usually will show foot, knee, hip and spine problems on that side, when analyzed by a Doctor of Chiropractic. This is the foot that is misaligning, or what we call pronation. In my office, we will find patients with weak posture muscles on that side, knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain.
What to do
Proper footwear will do much to help you be healthier, and walk properly and in an efficient way. Restoring the balance to your foot foundation when you keep an eye on what type of shoes you are wearing and the type of shoes you are wearing will go a long way to helping your overall whole body posture.
The Take Home Message
- Make sure that your shoes fit properly, as the ball of the foot should be positioned at the widest point of the shoe.
- Remove any store-bought (generic) insoles before putting in custom-designed orthotics.
- Old, broken down shoes should be thrown away and replaced with new shoes.
- Buy shoes like you buy fruit, squeeze them at the heel area. You want a firm counter around the heel for a pronated foot.
This article is meant to be an overview of common problems that are seen in the shoes of patients with pronated feet and how this shows up in a person’s posture. To have your own shoes and posture analyzed you should seek the help of a Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in this type of analysis.
Dr. Dale J Charrette has Chiropractor practices in Yucca Valley, CA and is a member of Desert Doctors. Dr. Charrette can be reached at (760) 449-4548. For more information visit DesertDoctors.org or call (760) 232.4646.