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Tips for Choosing          Shoes

Shop for new shoes late in the day. During the course of the day our feet normally swell a little. Buying shoes later in the day helps assure a better fit.

Have both feet measured. Its very common for one foot to be a little longer or wider than the other one. Buy the shoe size that fits your larger foot. Always stand up when being measured.

• When trying on shoes, wear the same type of socks that you plan to wear with the new shoes.

• It sounds obvious but always take the time to try on both shoes and walk around the store to check for comfort.

• Do not purchase shoes that feel like they need to be broken in a little (eg tight toes or rubbing heels). Shoes should always feel comfortable immediately.

• Buy the right shoes for the right activity to reduce the risk of injury. In other words (particulary with sports), if you plan to play Tennis, buy shoes designed for this activity. If you plan to run or walk for exercise, wear running shoes.

• Children’s feet should be measured every two to three months to check for growth. It is not unusual for a child’s feet to grow two to three sizes in the course of a year.



Tips for Choosing General Shoe Style

Lace-ups are the preferred choice because they help to keep the foot back in the heel counter of the shoe and provide support for improved stability. This allows the forefoot to function efficiently reducing forward pressure onto the tips of the toes.

• A broad or wide toe box helps to prevent lateral compression (i.e. squeezing of the toes). If the shoe is too narrow, this causes pressure on the toes which can lead to blisters and the formation of corns, calluses and ingrown toe nails.

• A cushioned non-slip sole is preferred to minimise jarring through the foot, leg, and the spine. Avoid hard soled materials (e.g. hard leather soles.)

• Shoes with a low heel is preferable (25mm max). Increased heel height affects the entire body as there is an increase in load and force placed on the forefoot, this can cause the body's centre of gravity to shift unnaturally forward, calf muscles shorten, muscles and ligaments fatigue as they are forced to work overtime to keep you balanced. This leads to an increase of stress placed on the lower back and thus body posture is affected.

Leather uppers are preferable for their durability and their ability to breathe. Avoid synthetic man made materials unless the upper is an open weave fabric similar to that which exists in many sneakers. Open weave fabrics allow better air flow.



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Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spur or Heel Pain.
Pronation or Flat Feet.
Biomechanics and Orthotic Therapy.
Corns and Calluses.
Athletes Foot and Plantar Warts.
Ingrown Toenails.
Bunions and various Toe Deformities.
Children's Feet.
Diabetic Foot Care.


 
The Foot Search engine
Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spur or Heel Pain.

Almost all Heel pain can be traced back either directly or indirectly to very common podiatric condition referred to as plantar fasciitis (or commonly referred to as Heel spur). The condition occurs when the plantar fascia ligament that travels along the bottom of the foot becomes stressed resulting in tenderness and inflammation.

At rest the the fascia ligament tightens because of the inflammation. Typically when you stand up and apply weight back through the foot the ligament is stretched slightly. This action produces a sharp pain initially which then fades away as the ligament progressively extends.

 

How does this occur? Most commonly it is simply the result of an abnormal pronation, ie the motion of the foot may result in a natural inward rolling at the point of contact with the ground.

The good news is this can be treated relatively easily in most cases with the application of custom orthotics (see our separate orthotics page for more information). This Orthotic therapy serves to improve and correct the foot support, allowing the plantar fascia ligament to rest.

The condition can also be effectively treated by simply switching to a more supportive shoe type. Longer term weight loss if applicable can also provide relief for a stressed ligament.

Pronation or Flat Feet.

Flat feet or over pronation (in Podiatric terms) is a very common problem. The foot arch collapses during the walking process unable to support the weight bearing load. This biomechanical condition can result in inflammation of the Facia ligament (as outlined in the fasciitis section above)

Orthotics are in many cases the recommended treatment, providing immediate and ongoing arch support, by relieving the stress on the the facia ligament and so eradicating the foot pain.

Other treatments can be simply applied by selecting the right kind of shoe type to correct the pronation (see our sidebar tips) eg shoes with a firm heel counter for extra support and stability. In other words improperly fitting footwear will likely only serve to bring on or aggravate existing pronation related conditions.

Biomechanics and Orthotic Therapy.

If you are experiencing back pain, knee, ankle heel or general foot pain during every day activities, it may suggest there is a structural problem with the loading and movement of your feet.

As you walk your heel moves laterally ie side to side to slight degree. In some cases however your heel may move too far laterally when you walk or run. Your foot may be making contact with the ground at a slight angle (ie  supernate or pronate see the diagram above), or may be flattening too much.
 
These various incorrect movements places stress on the foot and lower leg that over time weakens the foot often resulting in symptoms that present pain. Custom Orthotics are devices that correct these conditions by supporting and repositioning the heel and arch which in turn adjusts , muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones in the feet and lower leg – allowing the feet to operate as nature intended and any pain will be no longer.

It’s important to understand and differentiate between shoe inserts bought over the counter in pharmacies etc. that provide only a general corrective repositioning.

Custom Orthotics however are built from the unique moulds of your own feet, so are made with the precise adjustments required for your feet. They are made with comfortable thermoplastic materials, which are guaranteed to last for many years. The devices can be designed to fit your particular lifestyle and show type eg dress shoes, athletic shoes, boots & sandals etc.

We are able to evaluate the biomechanics of your gait, then take 3d photos of your feet, still the most exacting method, and then send these images and prescription to our partner orthotics lab they then create a model of the foot from the 3D data and create your own custom orthotics to your own unique prescription. see our Orthotic Therapy page for more info.

Orthotic therapy (custom orthotics made for your foot) can effectively realign the body and alleviate these problems.

In short custom orthotics can relieve many different types of foot pain including heel pain, plantar fasciitis, arch pain, pain caused by running, walking, pain related to diabetes; and other kinds of foot pain related to bunions, trauma, sprains etc.

Corns and Calluses.

Common corns and calluses can be caused by shearing stresses from ill-fitting footwear and abnormal weight bearing.

Many people try to alleviate the pain caused by calluses by cutting or trimming them with a razor blade or knife. This is however not the way to properly treat calluses. This can actually worsen the condition resulting in unnecessary injuries. Diabetics especially should never try this type of treatment.

Corns and calluses can however be removed safely & painlessly, and prevented in the future with the appropriate advice.

 

Athletes Foot and Plantar Warts.

Athletes foot does not as it's name suggest affect only athletes. It is a fungal infection (tinea) that develops just below the skin and commonly occurs between the toes.

If athletes foot remains untreated the infection can spread to the soles of the feet and the toenails. Athletes foot can be recognised by an initial scaling of the skin between the toes, the skin then becomes moist or soggy.  The skin may then flake and peel and small blisters look red, sore and inflamed. Itching and burning may increase as the infection spreads. 


When the soles of the feet are involved it may just appear as dry cracked skin without itching.  For this reason many people are often unaware that they have a fungal infection.

Plantar warts, athletes foot and fungal infections in the toenails can all be treated with the appropriate advice and up to date treatments.

Ingrown Toenails.

These are one of the most common complaints that take people to the podiatrist. The most common cause is cutting toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin.

Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow ends tends to only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present.

This common complaint can be easily and effectively treated in the clinic.

Bunions and Various Toe Deformities.

Bunions can affect all age groups to varying degrees. They are often painful arthritic deformities affecting the forefoot with bony enlargements and changes in alignment of the toes.

Sometimes the toes can overlap and distort the foot to the extent that individuals cannot wear regular shoes. With proper evaluation they can be corrected are often made worse by poorly fitting footwear.

They can however be effectively treated with mechanical devices and the relevant footwear advice.

Children's Feet.

Early detection of certain abnormalities in children is important to address, to allow the child to grow and develop normally. Signs for consideration in an infant include; abnormal hip, leg or foot position. As the child becomes a toddler, the parent may notice delayed or difficulty walking, curled toes or toes that over/underlap, one or both feet that angle inward or outward, and/or an excessively low or high arched foot.

As the child begins to grow, certain deformities may start to become more noticeable. Evaluation by a Podiatrist is important to determine the best course of action for the child.

As a child masters walking the medial arch begins to appear. All toddlers have flat feet because of a low angle of calcaneal inclination, by 5 to 6 years this angle has increased, and in most cases a medial longitudinal arch becomes apparent.

By around 6 years of age, your child should have normal arches in both feet. Children who appear flat-footed have a normal arch, but flatten it when they stand. This movement is called “pronation” and may cause painful symptoms and make the child tire easily. In this case orthotics may be useful to improve the foot posture and also relieve painful symptoms

Although many times a parent or even the child's paediatrician feels foot related problems are something the child will outgrow, frequently this is not the case and even subtle deformities are most easily corrected with early assessment and treatment.

Diabetic Foot Care.

As the Diabetes trend is on the rise in Australia (as is in the majority western societies), so are associated foot problems.Diabetics suffer from loss of sensation in the feet (Neuropathy). Injury can occur and progress to infection and gangrene before diabetic sufferers are aware of their injury. Its well understood that Diabetics typically have a higher incidence of infections and ulcerations in the feet.

A good program of care involves screening, and an assessment service is available to prevent the long term foot problems that can be caused by this condition.

 

 

 

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