Footcare FAQs

Podiatry and Chiropody Questions

Where can I go for foot care or podiatry treatment?

Always go to a Health Professions Council Registered Podiatrist who is also a member of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. Click here to find a podiatrist.

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Leg, Ankle and FootCare Questions

How Can I Take Better Care of My Feet?

By following the foot care advice below you can keep your feet healthy:

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Feet Problem Diagnosis / Foot Treatment Questions

My feet hurt, what can I do?

Foot pain is not normal. Do not ignore foot pain. If pain persists, see a podiatrist.

How can I make my feet better?

Always take good care of your feet, choose sensible footwear and if your feet are in pain or discomfort or if you have mobility problems visit a podiatrist.

How can I treat corns, bunions, etc.?

Information about conditions relating to the feet, ankles, knees and all aspects of healthcare can be found on the NHS Choices Website.

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Shoes and Footwear Questions

What Type of Shoes / Footwear should I Choose?

Avoid tight-fitting, uncomfortable, worn out or high heel shoes. Many podiatrists recommend footwear such as that made by Hotter Shoes or Cosyfeet who make both men's and women's shoes.

High quality footwear is usually made from fine quality leather or soft nubuck, and designed for unparalleled comfort. Features often include a leather insole, deep comfort cushioning, padded ankle support and smooth internal seams, lightweight sole, deep toe box and soft leather uppers. Shoes and footwear made in this way shield your knees, hips and back from wear and tear.

Comfortable mens and ladies shoes are often designed with fashion in mind too, so with your sensible footwear you can still create a good impression and be the envy of your friends. Remember that you need to use your feet throughout your life so they deserve to be comfortable. Many foot problems and ankle injuiries as well as knee and back pain are caused by badly fitting, worn out and uncomfortable shoes or footwear.

Wearing high heel ladies shoes for short periods of time, on an evening out should not cause any long term problems, however care should still be taken when buying high heel shoes to ensure the best fit possible.

What Should I Check or Look for When Buying Shoes / Footwear?

Shoe / Footwear Length

Your footwear needs to be long enough. Your feet need to be able to stretch out fully in your shoes, you should be able to move your toes about freely. The top of the shoe should not rub on your toes. If you will be walking downhill you will need to ensure there is room at the front of your shoe so that your toes do not bang into the front of your shoe, which can causes bruising and damage your nails, not to mention ruining your socks! Footwear Advice About Choosing Walking Boots.

Shoe / Footwear Width

Your shoes should be wide enough so that your foot is not squeezed width ways. Your shoes should ideally quite square at the front and not too pointed. Shoes with a pointed front will squeeze your toes together and force your toes into an unnatural position, leading to soreness, bunions, corns and callus.

Shoe Comfort / Footwear Quality

Padded soles and arch support are important. Every footstep that you take causes upwards pressure from the ground onto your feet, which passess upwards through your knees, legs, back, neck and head. This may not seem to be true, but have you noticed that walking quickly or running down a number of long flights of stairs can give you a headache? Padding in the shoe's soles provides cushioning which absorbs the shock of your feet hitting the ground and increases comfort. The arch of the foot should be supported without pushing onto the arch.

Your shoes need to be supportive with the ability to be properly secured along the top of the foot. Velcro fasteners are ideal for the purpose of fastening mens and ladies shoes. Laces are also effective shoes fastners provided that care is taken to ensure that the laces are tightened all the way up the shoe. Slip-on shoes are not considered suitable footwear by podiatrists. 

Shoes should not too loose so they rub around the heel, ankle or toes. Loose shoes that rub will lead to soreness and blisters. Diabetics are at particular risk since blistering may not heal, leading to foot ulcers.

Shoe / Footwear Material

Leather is an ideal material for footwear since it is waterproof when polished and breathable too. Feet that become water-logged are not only cold and uncomfortable but become susceptable to fungal infections such as athletes foot. Breathability in the shoe material ensures that the feet do not become overheated, leading to sweaty feet.

Some shoes, trainers and walking boots have a Gore-Tex membrane. Gore-Tex is a waterproof breathable material which is sandwiched between the outer material of the shoe and the inner lining. It is important to note that the outer surface of the footwear needs to be treated with a water-repellent product which prevents the surface of the boot or shoe from becoming saturated with water, since this inhibits the breathability of the Gore-Tex.

Do Shoes Need "Breaking-In"?

Good fitting, sensible mens and ladies shoes should not need breaking in. If a pair of shoes do need breaking in, wear them for short periods of time only.

If you have neuropathy you must be very careful about breaking shoes in, since you will not be able to feel any rubbing or soreness caused by the shoe. It is paramount that you check your feet for any signs of chaffing. If there is any sign of damage to the skin stop wearing the shoes.

When should I Change My Shoes / Buy New Footwear?

It is important that your footwear is always in good condition. Worn heels put uneven pressure on your foot, which can cause pains throughout the body. Broken shoes could cause you to twist your ankle, or could cause you to trip and fall, leading to any number of possible injuries.

Unpolished leather shoes, shoes that are not waterproof or footwear which has holes in the soles will let water in. Not only does this mean that your feet will be cold and uncomfortable, it increases the risk of damage to your skin and fungal infection.

Therefore you should buy new shoes when your old pair are showing signs of wear or damage.

If your footwear is uncomfortable or if your shoes do not fit properly, then you should also buy a new pair.

Should I Wear the Same Pair of Shoes Everyday?

No. It is best to alternate your shoes, i.e. wear a different pair of shoes from the ones that you had on yesterday. This gives your shoes time to cool down and dry out. This helps to reduce the amount of bacteria in yours shoes and therefore reduces the risk of a fungal infection on your feet.

Should I Buy "Off the Shelf" Orthoses, Insoles or Footbeds?

As with most things, it is possible to buy footbeds, insoles and orthotics of varying quality. There are orthoses available on the high street which have been developed by leading footcare specialists, these are normally perfectly suitable to correct for over-pronation. Howeve, you need to consider whether or not you really require orthotics and whether a particular type are suitable for your feet. Unsuitable or ill-fitting footbeds or orthotics can do more harm than good. It is advisable to consult a podiatrist before buying off the shelf orthotics, insoles or footbeds.

If you have new orthotics it is important to get used to them gradually. Initially you should wear them for short periods of time only, increasing the time period as your feet adapt to wearing them.

Are Trainers Shoes that are Recommended by Podiatrists?

Yes. Training shoes are recommended by podiatrists since they are wide fitting with a low heel and provide a good amount of support. Trainers are lace up so that they have an adjustable arch fastening.

I am diabetic, do I need special footwear?

If you are diabetic, good quality footwear is especially important. Shoes that rub or are too tight can damage the skin leading to ulceration.

It is important that appropriate footwear is selected for both indoor and outdoor use. You need to protect your feet around the home, therefore your indoor slippers should not be flimsy. When selecting mens or ladies outdoor shoes make sure they are stout and of good quality to help protect your feet.

Always fit shoes in the afternoon since feet swell during the course of the day. Remember to check the comfort of your shoes whilst standing up and whilst walking. Ensure that your toes have enough room to move. The inside of the shoe should be 1-2 centimeters longer than your foot and that the width of your shoes matches the width of your feet.

Footwear should take into account the exact shape of the foot. Podiatrists can help with this by making bespoke insoles and orthoses that will fit into off-the-shelf footwear, shoes and slippers. In cases where there is deformity of the foot or altered biomechanics, foot specific shoes may need to be made. Diabetic patients with neuropathy and/or ischemia must take extra care when fitting shoes, particularly when foot deformities are also present.

Please also read "What Type of Shoes / Footwear should I Choose? " and "What Should I Check or Look for When Buying Shoes / Footwear?" above.

Langer UK are set to launch a new diabetic shoe this summer.