Prescription Corrective Shoes For Health and Fitness
by Maripet L Poso
Mia Hamm, retired American soccer player, was born with a club foot and had to wear corrective shoes as a toddler. This did not deter her from becoming a soccer icon, redefining the meaning of feminine strength. She won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals, and was named the first ever FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
Aside from Mia’s strength of character and the number of goals she has scored – 158 in 275 matches, more than any player, male or female, has ever achieved in the soccer history – another thing that fascinated me about Mia’s story was the role of corrective shoes in her life. In a society where most women fancy the latest signature stilettos, reading about how corrective shoes helped Mia realise her dreams is inspiring, not to mention refreshing.
Ezyhealth & Beauty has caught up with podiatrist and avid sportsman himself, Dr Robert Ashton, to give us a lowdown on what corrective shoes are and what they really do.
Ezyhealth & Beauty: What exactly are corrective shoes?
Dr Ashton: Corrective shoes are shoes that are designed to help correct a deformity or condition in the foot or ankle by accommodating and/or supporting the foot.
EHB: Who should consider getting a pair?
Dr Ashton: People who should consider using or having a pair of custom corrective shoes are those who have a certain foot condition where the average shoe style does not fit them correctly. People with a Charcot foot – which usually occurs in patients with diabetes and causes the bones to fracture and the foot to resemble the leg of a rocking chair, often called a “rocker- foot type”, are an example of this. Also people involved in accidents where they were subjected to severe injuries resulting in reconstructive bone surgery and or fusion may need corrective shoes.
EHB: When should one consider getting a pair?
Dr Ashton: Deciding when you should get a pair of corrective shoes often comes too late as the problems have already started. You should look at them as a way of preventing future complications and problems such as pressure ulcers and further boney deformities from occurring. If you know you have a boney deformity that is severe and causing problems in the “so-called normal shoe type” then you should look at some corrective shoes to help with everyday activities.
EHB: Are corrective shoes we can buy off-the-shelf any good?
Dr Ashton: Some off-the-shelf corrective shoes can be useful in helping minor foot deformity conditions. For example, if you have a minor bunion (the big toe joint area where the big toe starts to deviate laterally and you see the joint protruding), it can be managed with a wide fitting style corrective shoe and possibly with an orthotic device to be put in the shoe. An off-shelf corrective shoe should be able to handle a custom orthotic which is a custom-made insole to accommodate and protect the foot.
EHB: What should we expect when getting a customised pair of corrective shoes?
Dr Ashton: A pair of customised corrective shoes should be made to fit your foot no matter the condition or deformity. The look of the shoe will depend on the severity of the condition or deformity. The shoe may not look as you want it, but it should prevent any further deformity of the joints and also prevent pressure ulcers and other skin pressure problems. The shoe should fit well as there would have been a cast taken of your foot. You should also expect to work closely with your podiatrist to ensure that if you need a custom-made orthotic, the corrective shoe can be made around the orthotic as well as your foot.
In summary, a customised corrective shoe and an off-the-shelf one should go a long way to preventing further deformity and any condition of the foot from worsening. However, you should consult a podiatrist before purchasing a corrective shoe to make sure you get the information needed and the correct shoe, as they will perform a proper assessment on your feet.
Dr Robert Ashton is a podiatrist at The Osteopathy and Podiatry Centre Singapore.
For more information, please visit www.osteopathy-podiatry.com.