The perfect shoes and how to find them

Last time we ran a poll about which type of footwear you thought caused the most injuries. We had a huge number of responses so thank you to everyone who took part.


41% of you said high heels, whilst 59% opted for flip flops as the main culprit causing people to visit Surrey Physiotherapy. And while we actually see injuries from both types of footwear, the majority of you were right in thinking that flip flops are the main shoe villain!!


Flip flops offer no support or shock dissipation, increasing the loading on all the foot. In addition, there’s no protection, so people often get cuts and grazes while wearing them. So whilst they’re absolutely fine for walking round the pool, flip flops are not ideal for shopping or sightseeing. Sandals with an arch support are much better for the feet.


But lets not let the high heel off the hook! These load the ball of the foot more, but the foot is generally better supported than in a flip flop. So high heels are fine for an evening out, if you are not walking too far.


We’ve kept with a foot theme in this newsletter, so read on for an article on the perfect shoes for your feet and how to find them, more about Pes Planus (flat feet or fallen arches), and a catch up with the Falls Prevention group. There is also a brand new poll (scroll to the bottom to take part).

Alison and the Surrey Physiotherapy team


If the show fits…

The shoe that fits one person will pinch another, but if you know what to look for then they shouldn’t pinch at all … well, perhaps only your purse!

Shoes should always be fit for purpose – i.e. running, walking on hard pavements, walking in the countryside, dancing. And almost every time you will get what you pay for, with the more expensive ones usually being better constructed using higher quality materials. This doesn’t mean that you always need to opt for the most expensive trainers, but those at the bottom of the range are unlikely to give you adequate support and cushioning.

Tips and tricks to help buy the right shoe:

  • Making sure that you have adequate cushioning when walking on hard pavements will dissipate shock, reducing the force experienced in the ankles, knees and hips;
  • If you pick the shoe up by the heel and toe and try to bend it, it should bend across the toes. If it doesn’t bend or collapse under the arch it will not allow normal foot function;
  • For everyday shoes pick a small heel with the height of the heel measuring twice the thickness of the sole – i.e. 1″ heel with 1/2″ under the sole of the foot;
  • If you have bunions or corns make sure the shoe is not too tight;
  • Comfort is important when you try shoes on. Don’t be tempted to think that shoes will stretch and become more comfortable. Leather will stretch a little (although only across the width – not length) but manmade fibres won’t;
  • If you wear orthoses, take them with you when you try on new shoes;
  • Later in the day is best for measuring your feet and trying on shoes as feet normally expand and spread during the day;
  • Check for seams, raw edges, anything that is likely to cause friction or rub;
  • When trying shoes on, stand up, walk around and make sure the fit feels secure;
  • Soles should provide a good grip. Leather soles and some manmade fibres can change areas such as station concourses into a skating rink;

Do you suffer from Pes Planus?

ecebfe9d-04ff-480d-8a93-c15ca01d4543More commonly known as flat feet or fallen arches – Pes Planus affects approximately 45% of children and around 20% of adults, and is where the normal arches on the inside of the foot are low, or there is no arch at all. In children, the arch develops as they get older. And while some people are born with naturally lower arches, others develop them later in life.


There are a number of causes of flat feet:
They can be inherited;
Conditions affecting the muscles and nerves, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy;
Connective tissue disorder such as hypermobility where the muscles, tendons and ligaments are very flexible;
Obesity – increased load on the foot makes it more difficult for the ligaments and muscles to support the arches;
Trauma, such as a fracture in the foot or a severe sprain of ligaments in the foot or ankle;
Flat feet in themselves are not necessarily a problem and don’t require treatment. However, they can be associated with ankle sprains, knee, hip and low back problems.


Self help


Individuals with flat feet, tend to have some muscles that are weaker in the leg, and therefore strengthening these, through exercise or physiotherapy could often help with symptoms.


Advice should be sought if flat feet:
hurt even when wearing supportive, well-fitting shoes;
appear to be getting flatter;
are numb or stiff and you find it difficult to walk;
If your flat feet are causing pain, or making it difficult for you to walk or run, doing the following, could help:
Wearing good shoes, that have a comfortable arch support;
Wearing special insoles (orthotics) that support the arches and fit inside the shoe;
Performing specific exercises to help strengthen the weak muscles;
Losing weight, if you are overweight;

Celebration, classes and a little bit of a cake

ee88598c-52bf-4d06-a565-d710d1a4fe4dWe’ve seen lots of continuing hard work at the Osteoporosis and Falls Prevention classes over the last few months but a great deal of cake has also been eaten!!


In September, we also celebrated Jill’s 50th birthday and she would like to pass on her thanks to everyone who contributed to her present.  She is very much looking forward to spending her garden vouchers.

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

b7f3da96-a064-4af4-af20-6990b3f1cd6aThe Surrey Physio Osteoporosis and Falls Prevention class joined the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on 3rd October.

As you can see, there was a magnificent selection of cake to choose from and we did our best to try them all!! Many thanks to everyone in the class for taking part so enthusiastically and well done for raising a fantastic £131 for Macmillan Cancer Support.