These Boots Are Made for Walking

Published Friday November 20, 2015

As cooler weather settles in and the leaves fall, that means one thing for my shoe wardrobe – it’s boot season! Even as a podiatrist, I am not immune to the call of a truly adorable pair of boots. But unfortunately not all of these lovely shoes are as comfortable as I’d like. That’s where my orthotics come in – versatile prescription supports that can go in whatever shoes they’ll fit in. I put mine in my sneakers, my Chuck Taylors, and of course – my boots! They help my high arches last pain-free all day.

Many people have orthotics (custom made foot supports), but not everyone knows they are able to fit them in shoes besides their athletic shoes. Since so many people wear dress shoes all day, it’s always worth trying your inserts in your dress shoes, after first removing the sock liners. Lower-profile sneakers sometimes work as well, as do oxford-type shoes. Your orthotics might not fit in all of your shoes, but there are other options for much dressier shoes – besides the prescription option, there are some over-the-counter inserts made for dress shoes.

Orthotics are useful for all arch types, from flat feet to high arches like mine, so if you already have a custom-made pair, it’s important that you use them. Their purpose is to improve the biomechanics of your feet and to realign the way your feet move as you stand and walk. Your feet – and your ankles, knees, and hips – are in a better more natural position, which allows pain to decrease. The more you wear them, the better you’ll feel.

Let’s not forget about the other important aspect of fall – fall sports! For those kids (and grownups, of course) out there on the football and soccer fields, try to fit your orthotics in your cleats. All that running, jumping, and tackling is bound to tire out your feet. Wearing your orthotics could help prevent some soreness at the end of the game.

If you are seeing your podiatric physician for arch pain, and you have specific shoe needs – from boots to cleats – make sure you mention them. There are many different ways to make orthotics for you. They can stop right behind the ball of your foot, or they can go the whole length of your shoe. They can be very thin or thick. There are lots of options! Some of this depends on what type of correction your feet need, but by working with your doctor you can come up with an orthotic prescription that both fits your shoe “lifestyle” and what your feet need to feel better.

So now that autumn is upon us, make sure you try to put your orthotics in those cute boots you can’t wait to wear! It can be kind of a pain to switch them between shoes, but try to think of the benefits. Whether you’re at work, at the gym, on the field, or just around the house, orthotics can help reduce foot and/or ankle pain. You love those boots – and so does everyone who compliments them – so put your orthotics in them and wear them all the time!

– Caitlin Mahan Madden, DPM

Dr. Mahan Madden practices in the Wheaton, Shady Grove and Rockville offices.

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