Heel spurs are a frequent culprit of foot pain seen in pedorthic clinics. The pain can range from a dull nagging ache that feels like there is a rock in your shoe, to an excruciating pain that prevents you from walking, standing or doing your regular activities.
Also known as calcaneal spurs, heel spurs typically develop from repetitive damage to the heel which causes calcium deposits to form. Ongoing damage can lead to a buildup of calcium, which causes frequent pain. X-rays are often used to confirm heel spurs but they can also be detected through a medical exam and palpation.
A hammertoe is a toe that has an irregular, permanent bend in the joint, in some instances causing the toe to resemble a hammer. Often painful or difficult to move, hammertoes may affect a single toe or all of the four lesser toes (toes that have two hinge joints).
The most common cause of hammertoes is poorly fitting footwear. Footwear that is too tight at the toes or has an excessive heel height that forces the toes to be crushed into the toe box of the shoe will cause hammertoes to form over time. Hammertoes are frequently seen in conjunction with bunions, as ill-fitting footwear also causes bunions to develop on the big toe.
When I am fitting a patient for foot orthotics for the first time, they often ask if they can wear their orthotics in all of their shoes. This is a great question. Custom made foot orthotics are highly effective as Canadian Certified Pedorthists make them to precisely fit your feet. However, to receive the full benefit of the orthotic, the orthotic needs to fit properly in your footwear.
Often custom made foot orthotics can be transferred between similar types of shoes. For example, the orthotic that is made for your running shoes will likely fit in your walking or hiking shoes. However, the same orthotic may not fit, or be as effective in, a pair of lady’s dress shoes, sandals, skis or skates.