I have a client who recently purchased a new pair of shoes. She is now complaining about an ache on the medial side of her right calf. Is this due to a poor fit or could it be that the new pair of shoes are highlighting deficiencies in her last pair of shoes, which caused a muscular imbalance?
To help answer your question, check your client’s ankle, foot stability/control without the shoes and then with the shoes. Is their control better with or without?
If your client is wearing a well-cushioned shoe (the new shoes) the body may decrease proprioceptive sensitivity and dissipate shock less effectively. The body assumes that the shoe will shock absorb and stabilize, so it instinctively relies on the shoe and less on it’s protective muscular support mechanisms. This instability leads to repetitive stress on passive structures (ex: joints, bones, ligaments).
Listed below are helpful tips for shoe selection. Have your client review it and make any necessary adjustments.
- Both feet should be measured for width and length. Remember foot sizes change with age. Did your client assume the size or was she measured?
- Is your client following a size of a different name brand?
- When being sized for shoes, bring your socks and orthotics (if applicable).
- Always try on shoes with a knowledgeable shoe person.
- Avoid buying a shoe based on size.
- Compare right and left measurements (one may differ) and purchase the size for the wider and/or longer foot.
- General rule:
- Allow for approximately a ½ inch from the longest toe to the end of the shoe. The shoe should allow all toes to fully extend and move without being cramped.
- The width of the shoe should fit the widest part of the foot and permit movement of the toes and spreading of the foot.
- Avoid waiting for the shoe to “break-in”. A shoe that fits properly will fit from day one!