Winter boots could ruin your feet

by Angie Sharp/WQAD-TV

Beau Shay
Dr. Beau Shay, ORA Orthopedics

Whether you’re shoveling snow or just walking through slush, what you wear during the winter can make or break your feet.

Dr. Beau Shay from ORA Orthopedics says the most common injury from improper footwear is plantar fasciitis, or heel pain.

“It’s the number one foot condition in America due to a lot of reasons, but improper shoe wear is one of the main reasons.”

Dr. Shay says plantar fasciitis can impact how you move, especially if you like to exercise or are an athlete. Treatments include stretching, icing, and anti-inflammatory medications.

“However, if that doesn’t solve it, you have to get more into aggressive treatment like immobilization, casting, aggressive physical therapy, and if none of that works, it can require surgery.”

Dr. Shay says one of the worst types of boots for your feet are shearling boots because they are extremely flat.

“They give absolutely no support, they are flimsy, they have no heel support, they really can cause a lot of issues, a lot of extra pressure across the bottom of the foot,” said Dr. Shay.

He says when looking for a good boot, the first thing you need to do is get your foot and arch measured.

“You need to usually get measured later in the day because your foot can swell about 8% throughout the day, which is a lot, so if you go to the store right in the morning that could actually be a half size shoe smaller than what you would wear later in the day.”

Once you’re measured, the type of boot, or shoe, you choose should be snug, but not too snug.

“You want a shoe that gives you about a half inch longer than our longest toe and about an 1/8 of an inch in your heel, so that allows you good room,” said Dr. Shay.

For women who like a little bit of height in their boots, Dr. Shay says go with a wedge heel and stay away from heel heights higher than an inch and a half.

“If you have more than an inch and a half, then you’re getting more pressure on the fore foot and that’s when you start to get more problems and more stress on the area of the foot that shouldn’t be taking that much stress.”

Dr. Shay says another problem people run into is wearing their shoes too long.

“The issue is they get worn out so what happens when they wear out is they start to lose the structure of the actual shoe and because of that, your muscles are taking on more stress to try to hold up the arch,” he explained. “That makes you more prone to stress fractures or putting pressures on areas of the foot that shouldn’t have pressure on it.”