Orthopedic Shoe Repair
Over the years, I’ve attended many classes and seminars regarding foot health and shoe modifications. From my early training with my dad to the pedorthic classes with the Pedorthic Footwear Association, I’ve learned a lot about shoes and how they should work with feet.
One of our specialities is shoe modifications.Taking shoes apart and reworking them to better fit a foot is one of the more interesting parts of my business.
Shoe Lifts and Sole Build-Up
The most common is a sole build up to compensate for a leg length discrepancy. We carry adhesives and materials that allow me to put a lift on about any shoe. Whether its dress, casual or sport shoes, we can make it happen. We have lift materials in different colors and densities so the build up will blend with the existing sole and provide the comfort you need to suit the shoe. My goal is to make the lift as inconspicuous as possible. This is easier in some situations than others, depending on the shoe and lift height, but appearance is always a priority. Lifts can range from /1/8 inch up to 3 1/2 inches. Often lifts of less than ⅜ inch can be a heel insert made to wear inside the shoe. Sometimes the height of the lift can be different at the front of the shoe than the heel for cosmetic or other reasons. The height and type of lift should be decided between you and your healthcare provider.
Rocker Soles and Matatarsal Bars
Rocker soles and metatarsal bars are common modifications. Both are used to alleviate pain in the front of the foot. Rocker soles reshape the sole of the shoes so they don’t flex as much when walking. Usually this involves building another layer into the soles and shaping it so the shoe rocks as the body passes over it. This minimizes some of the motion of the forefoot during walking and reduces the pain of some foot problems like arthritis and metatarsalgia.
Metatarsal bars work similarly but are for less extreme problems. This modification is a piece of firm material that is installed over the sole extending from behind the ball of the foot to just in front of the heel. The purpose of this is to redistribute body weight from the front of the foot to the midfoot and alleviating pain in the front of the foot. Sometimes these modifications are used with metatarsal pads inside the shoe to help reshape the forefoot to a more health shape. Both of these modifications are very effective with forefoot problems. The rocker sole also works well with ankle problems like arthritis and fusions. These modifications should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Shoe Stretching and Balloon Patches
Specialty stretching and balloon patches are very effective ways of dealing with some of the lumps and bumps that accompany some foot problems. Shoes stretch pretty well with the right pressure and technique. For instance we can stretch a pocket into the side of a shoe to accommodate an bunion. In some cases when the shoe won’t stretch enough, we can cut the area out of the shoe and fashion a balloon patch to make enough room for the deformity. Balloon patches are pretty extreme but they work when nothing else helps with the pain.