Shoes for Arthritis

Tips for Buying Pain-Free Sandals

Shoes that are flimsy can be a pain in the back (and the hips, knees and feet). When you’re buying sandals, keep your cool with styles that do your body good. Here’s what to look for this season when buying pain-free sandals:

  • Support:Proper support of the ball, arch and heel of your foot is paramount for those with arthritis, says Rex McCallum, MD, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Sandals with semirigid soles, backs and sides provide the right support. A rule of thumb: Avoid shoes that can be bent in half, from toe to heel.
  • Coverage:Buy sandals with sneaker footbeds, bumpers that cover the toes and heels, and those with edges that rise above the sole. They’re are sturdier than their flat counterparts, and offer the best protection from toe stubs.

  • Comfort:Look for materials that cushion feet but are rigid enough to give sufficient support, recommends Bryan Markinson, chief of podiatry at the Leni and Peter W. May Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Soft leather is supple but supportive, and neoprene absorbs shock. The heel also should be as wide as the back of the shoe – not tapered – to lend stability and comfort.
  • Fit:If the sandal has a closed toe, ensure that the toe box is wide and deep enough to allow your toes to wiggle from side to side and up and down. The space between your longest toe and the edge of the shoe should be about the width of your thumbnail. And your heel should not lift off the footbed when you walk.


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