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The ICB Gait & Posture Clinics specialise in biomechanical assessment of the lower limbs. Their job is to explore wholistically the relationship between pain and the skeletal and muscular structure of the body from the feet up.

They specialise in treating children, dancers and the aged,
but of course all are welcome.

www.icbgp.com

 








































 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW
ABOUT FOOTCARE and FOOTWEAR,
BUT DIDN'T KNOW
WHO TO ASK.

By Garry Abeshouse

DANCING SHOES AUSTRALIA
suppliers of
Prodance Latin, Ballroom,
Ceroc and Rock 'n' Roll
Dance footwear

Dancing to many people is the most important activity in their lives: they live to dance.
Dancing is exciting, enjoyable, artistic, satisfying and a genuine interactive social an
sporting activity.
It can be both sensuous and strenuous to those involved. It is a different experience to different people; truly chameleon-like.


If dancing is this important to you and you enjoy dancing for long periods of time you probably want to be an active dancer right into your old age. If this is the case, then choosing your dance footwear should be as important as the dancing itself.

Choose your new pair of dance shoes with the same care as you would when purchasing something of great value.
Correctly chosen and fitted, your dance footwear should be an asset to your dancing. Well-fitted shoes will enable you to dance longer with less effort and with more comfort, allowing you to concentrate more on what is most important to you
- becoming a better dancer.And remember! Your choice of style should be secondary to a comfortable, secure fit.

A warning to all dancers: you have only one pair of feet on issue during your lifetime, so take good care of them if you wish to dance the light fantastic into your old age. Here's just a few things you may or may not be aware of with regards to choice of footwear and the care and health of your feet. 

1. WHAT'S IN A FEW BONES, YOU MAY ASK?

Our feet have a BIG responsibility in keeping us human beings mobile constantly on two legs. Each foot consists of a complex system of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, and of course skin, hair and toe nails. 25% of the bones in the body are located in the feet.
There is a total of 28 bones, 37 joints, 38 muscles and tendons, and 107 ligaments in each foot --- all of which are weight bearing.
12 muscles do most of the work in producing the various movements of the foot. All this allows us to walk and run around for about 100,000 km during our lifetime of usually between 60 and 90 years.

2. FOOTWEAR DESIGN

FOOTWEAR should be designed to serve 6 main functions,in order to keep the feet in good working order:

1. To fit, so they can be worn with comfort to do the job for which they were designed, without damaging the person wearing them.
2. To cushion the feet in gait [vital in most modern environments with their flat, hard surfaces].
3. To stabilise the feet in gait during walking or running, particularly for those with foot problems.
4. To protect the feet from impact injury at work and at play.
5. To protect the feet from the elements [extremes of heat, cold, water, etc.]
6. To look and feel great while dancing to 3.00am in the morning.

Effectiveness of these 6 functions will vary considerably, depending upon:
--'last' shape -- type of construction -- purpose suitability -- quality of materials used --
availability of half sizes and width fittings -- actual fit on the foot -- fluid build-up and medical conditions.
The list goes on and on.

3. BABY'S FEET - IN THE BEGINNING

At birth, the bones of a baby's legs and feet consist mainly of cartilage, cushioned by fat for protection.
This cartilage gradually matures into hard adult bone by about 17 years of age.
In young feet [even up to age 13] the bones and joints are very flexible, and are easily aggravated by poor habits, injuries or incorrect footwear- particularly in the large number of people who are born with the potential
for abnormal foot function. Most of these inherited faults pass unnoticed for years, worsening by small degrees, until a symptom suddenly restricts the mobility we've taken for granted.

Normal human feet are designed to function best without footwear. They are not really designed for constant walking or running on hard flat surfaces. Walking barefoot on yielding, uneven surfaces like sand, earth, grass and even deep pile carpet, and using toes to grab and climb, encourages the healthy development of bone and muscle in the younger years. Constant use of these types of exercises throughout life will assist feet to be better able to withstand any inherited irregularities.

4. GENERAL -- FITTING and CHECKING NEW FOOTWEAR

  • FOOT MEASURMENTS and SHOE SIZE
    One foot maybe longer and/or wider than the other, so when in doubt both feet should be measured. Measuring needs to be always done standing up, with weight full on, standing slightly forward. Size is taken from the length of the longest toe. This size measurement in itself, should not be taken too literally as the actual shoe size fitted, may be up to plus or minus 2 sizes different from the measured size.
    All footwear should be fitted standing, weight full on - not sitting, and checked again after walking in them.

  • TOE SHAPE IN ENCLOSED FOOTWEAR
    Shoes that are too tapered in the front can cause rubbing on the little toe and/or put side pressure on the big toe. Make sure that toe depth is deep enough. Quite often even very narrow feet may have prominent big toes. One way to check toe depth is to look at the shoe side on, and to
    compare it with a different style. Be realistic when matching shoe shape to foot shape, particularly when the shoe is being utilized for an energetic activity for long periods such as dancing or running.

    Shoes that are too big, may also contribute to unwanted problems, such as calluses and aches and pains.

    Excess length and rigid sole materials [either separate or together] may also prevent the shoe sole flexing freely at the big toe joint. If normal 'toe grab' becomes difficult under these conditions, it may cause the wearer to be clumsy, trip more easily and even appear uncoordinated.

    Special note on ladies pointy toe high heels: No matter how well they fit when new, the foot will
    always work its way further into the toe area, squeezing the toes together more and more. It then becomes only a matter of time, if these shoes are worn long enough, for the toes to become increasingly deformed. These type of shoes are
    absolutely deadly to those with Bunions [see below], due to side pressure on the big toe.

  • Footwear warning - Excessive "toespring" in shoes.
    Toespring is the degree that the front of a shoe is elevated off the ground. The ideal angle, from the ball of the foot to the tip of the toe, should be less than 15 degrees from the horizontal position.
    You should be aware that in much the same way a soft bed may alter the alignment of your spine, excessive toespring in a shoe may have a detrimental effect on your foot metatarsal / big-toe joint. Bunions will definitely be aggravated.

    If this problem is present in a shoe, the big toe is can be pushed upward causing inflammation where the rear of the toe joins the rest of the foot. The closer the end of the toes are to the end of the shoe the more the big toe joint will be affected. This is a more of a problem on some shoe designs and constructions than others.

    Also be warned I have yet to find a sales assistant in any shoe store, who even knows what toespring is.

    What makes excessive toespring worse?
    The thicker and more rigid the sole, the less likely that wear over time will change
    the amount of toespring.
    e.g.. Seen more in men's shoes than women's: Thick hard leather soles, polyurethane and other rigid plastic one piece unit soles. Joggers.

    Soles with excessive toespring which may have a reduced impact on the big toe joint.
    Long pointy toed shoes where there is a large space in front of the foot.
    Shoes with thin flexible soles, that will flatten down easily.
    Because the soles of most dance shoes are so thin and flexible, excessive toe spring is rarely a problem in these shoes.

    Excessive toespring is found in very expensive name brand shoes as well as cheaper styles.
    There are many other possible causes of pain and inflammation in the big toe joint, this is just one of them.

  • HEEL FIT
    The enclosed heel portion of shoes should be fitted with a good stiffener and preferably have a non-slip lining. Make sure the back of the shoe grips the foot snugly, with no heel slip while walking. Check for this particularly if the wearer has narrow ankles. Check if the back portion of the shoes sits well below the ankle bones, rather than cutting in to them? In practice this is less important in shoes with padded backs.
    It is quite common for feet that are broad in the front, to be proportionally narrower at the back.
    Heel fit can be very tricky as most footwear on the market are not designed for narrow heels.
    This is one of the major areas where the expertise of the shoe fitter/seller is very important.

  • CHECKING WIDTH IN NEW MEN'S SHOES
    This can be difficult to do if the uppers are too stiff and hard. Firstly always wear socks of normal thickness to be worn with the shoe. Press your thumb onto one side of the widest part of the top of the shoe front [across the metatarsal heads]. Then, with pressure, run your thumb across this area while standing in the shoe, with weight full on [if you can bend down that far]. There should be a reasonable amount of 'give' in the upper material, without it being too loose. There should also be plenty of freedom up front to wiggle all of the wearers' toes, with no side pressure, particularly on the little toe. Prominent toes should not press up against the shoe toe cap.

  • CHECKS FOR WEAR AND INCORRECT FIT IN WORN SHOES
    Check for internal and external abnormal wear points on each shoe, particularly under the heels.
    Another check is to take off the shoes and socks at the end of the day and check for pressure marks or redness on the little toes - a common sign that the shoes are too small or narrow.
    Careful, as these marks may also be caused by worn internal shoe linings or by the raised stitching and knots on the front of some socks.

5. SHOE UPPERS and LININGS: LEATHER vs SYNTHETIC

These days there are so many materials used in the upper construction of footwear, that it is difficult sometimes, even for experts to tell what materials are being used, especially in joggers and sneakers. What seems to be leather can be all plastic or plastic coated leather, what seems to be cotton or canvas may be polyester.

Not all leathers 'breathe', and some synthetics 'breathe' very well. 'Breathability' of a shoe relates to the ability of perspiration, moisture and air to successfully permeate the upper material from inside the shoe to the atmosphere outside.
Shoes that breathe better are healthier for the feet because moisture and heat build-up in the shoe are reduced. This in turn increases comfort and reduces the incidence of foot problems and infections.

Materials and finishes that aid the breathing of shoe uppers include:
* Unlined suedes, nu-bucks [a very fine suede], leathers
* with a minimum of finish on the surface.
* Special 'polymeric' synthetic lining materials
* Nylon meshes found on joggers
* Open weave type uppers
* Punched holes in the uppers
* Even stitching holes in moccasin type uppers

Upper and lining materials and different styles that reduce the breathing of shoes include:
* Leathers finished with lacquers, waxes, oils and plastic
* coatings
*Non-woven synthetic and plastic linings and uppers
*Non-polymeric synthetic and plastic linings
*Having no ventilation holes in the uppers
*Higher cut lace or zipper boots.

Quality leather uppers have an advantage over any synthetic uppers in that they have the ability to stretch and mold to the shape of the foot without splitting, cracking, going hard or the surface peeling over time.
Cheap leathers can vary from being too hard and thick, to being thin, soft and very stretchy - none of these features are desired in dance shoes.

The best upper leathers for dance shoes that money can buy, anywhere in the world, are made here from
Australian Kangaroo Leather.
This leather, now available in Australian made PRODANCE footwear [black only],
has uppers that are ultra thin, ultra soft and ultra strong.
Kangaroo leather is so good, that it is used by World Cup Soccer players for their shoes.

6. FOOTWEAR SOLE MATERIALS

Sole materials used in dance footwear construction usually need to be thin, flexible and have a reasonable amount of slip. They include smooth leather, suede leather, thin resin, thermoplastic rubber, micro-cellular rubber and polyurethane.

Dancers should be aware that the degree a particular dance shoe may slip or stick to a wooden dance floor, will vary hugely from floor to floor.
In practice this may have more to do with the individual floor surface than the sole on the dance shoes.

Suede leather soles are very thin, light and flexible. They are used for Classical Ballet shoes, Latin shoes and traditional Ballroom shoes, and may only be used inside on a wooden dance floor. Suede soles usually pick up a layer of wax form the older wooden floors, which may make the shoes less slippery. This can be brushed off with a special wire brush; but each time you do this it takes some of the surface suede as well, reducing the life of the shoes each time this is done. Most newer dance floors have an epoxy or polyurethane coating on the surface, which reduces any build-up from these floors.

Smooth leather soles may be slippery to dance in and ruin easily when worn outside or if they get wet.
Used for Latin, Ceroc and Rock 'n' Roll by experienced dancers with good control on the dance floor, who like
to do a lot of fast spinning.
Also commonly used in Character shoes and some Classical Ballet shoes.
Not suitable for dancing on tiles or concrete.

Thin resin soles are extremely hard wearing, can be worn inside and outside on all dance surfaces and are suitable for Latin dancing. They have a less slippery, softer feel when worn in, closer to suede than to smooth leather. Ideal for those who do not wish to carry around two pairs of shoes when going dancing.

Microcellular Rubber and E.V.A. soles are made from either natural or synthetic rubber that has been
expanded with differing amounts of air, to different thicknesses and densities. The more it is 'blown' with air, the lighter it gets in weight, the softer it becomes and the worse it wears. Very thin types of this material are used for Jazz shoe soles, while a thicker version is used as a light-weight wedge sole for Rock 'n' Roll / Swing shoes. Variations of this material are also used as midsoles in the better joggers, giving this style of footwear a lot of its lightness and bounce.

Polyurethane is formed from chemicals reacting under pressure inside a mold. Must be made to very exacting standards, otherwise becomes unstable, cracks and goes to powder with age. When made properly is expensive, but very light weight and hardwearing. Suitable for outdoor use. Jazz sneakers use this as a sole material.

7. SOLE and HEEL REPAIRS
This advice applies to the Prodance shoes displayed in our catalogue. It may apply to similar styles in other brands as well.
Most shoe repairs do not stock the correct resin and suede sole materials we use for our Prodance Dance Shoes. Should you require your shoes to be resoled, you should ask for the following - and accept no substitutes, as you probably will not be happy with the result. Always obtain a quote first and do dot bother with a re-sole unless the shoes are in very good condition.
RESIN SOLE - Ask for 2.5mm Black or Beige Resin
. Do NOT go thicker as the sole will be too heavy and rigid.
Do NOT get TOPY NON-SLIP or similar materials for obvious reasons.

SUEDE SOLE - Ask for 1.2mm Chrome Split Suede in pale grey or black.
SMOOTH LEATHER SOLE - make sure thec leather is no thicker than your worn sole.
LADIES HEEL TOP PIECES - Ask for Vulco Smooth top pieces for repairing the heel tips. This is a special hard type of rubber used for this purpose. Never ever buy plastic top pieces.

If you are in Sydney you can try:
Brice's Shoe Repairs - Shop 41, Imperial Arcade, Sydney. Phone 02 9233 2836

8. CHOOSING LADIES SOCIAL DANCE SHOES -- ALWAYS A DIFFICULT TASK!

Heel Height should not be so high as to create aches or pains when worn dancing, or to aggravate existing foot, leg or back ailments. Remember the smaller the foot size for any given heel height, the steeper the angle the foot will be to the dance floor. Dancers with high arches should also wear lower height heels.

In my experience the most acceptable heel height range for most dancers, creating the optimum compromise between look and comfort, is usually between 51 mm and 63 mm (2 to 2 ˝ inches). Some dancers are happy with 75mm (3 inch) heels, but few dancers can tolerate heel heights of 89mm (3 ˝ inches) or higher without a platform under the forefoot to reduce the ‘effective’ heel height.

Slightly higher heels than normal, may be advantageous to dance styles such as Tango, where the dancer tends to be on her toes a lot more - but beware, the comfort and pain factors still apply!

Very bulky or chunky style heels generally are not suitable for dancing.

Front Straps. Very thin straps are less supportive than wider ones and are more likely to stretch too much, making them loose. Alternately thin non-stretch synthetic straps may dig into the skin causing them to become tight and uncomfortable. 8mm or wider leather straps with a non-stretch backing, designed in a way so as to give good foot support, are a better choice. Some dancers are prone to getting puffy feet (from fluid build-up) after dancing, so always take this into account when choosing a new footwear style.

Open toe verses closed styles. Open toe styles can vary from a very small opening, where the toes may be barely visible, to a very large opening with all the toes showing. This latter situation quite often results in the foot moving forward in the shoe causing the toes to overlap the front of the shoe - 'hanging five' as it were. So smaller open toes are safer than the larger ones - particularly for the more narrow feet.

Many of the traditional Tango, Rock 'n' Roll, Character and old style Ballroom 'court' shoes all have closed in toes. Be careful here with the more pointy toed styles, as they can make the shoes too long and unwieldy for dancing, and may also squash the little toe and put extra side pressure on the big toe.

Many dancers feel that having a completely closed toe will protect their feet from their dancing partners stomping on them. This may be true, but I feel a small peep-toe is a better option, both from a fitting perspective and also by providing a shoe that is better ventilated.
This opening in the front of a non-strappy, semi-closed style of shoe, allows more air to flow around the foot, keeping the foot cooler and reducing perspiration.

Back Straps and Enclosed Heels. Sandal style dance shoes with closed-in backs are generally more secure for dancing than open-back styles, with just an ankle strap or the mini semi-enclosed backs found on many imported dance shoes.

Multiple Width Fittings and Half Sizes. Having a choice between multiple width fittings, proper half sizes and a variety of heel heights, and being able to cater for ‘odd feet’ can be extremely important to many dancers. Prodance footwear, is one of a very small number of footwear suppliers left in the world, whose footwear has all these characteristics.

The majority of dancers who need one or more of these features, will find choosing from ‘off the rack shoes’ inadequate for obtaining a proper fit. One foot may be wider or narrower or longer or shorter. Most ‘off the rack’ brands of footwear have only one width fitting, and may or may not even have proper half sizes in length.
In my personal experience a minimum of one in every four dancers [25%] usually needs a non standard fitting or a lower heel.

9. SOCKS and PANTYHOSE

Remember that non-porous fibres of 100% synthetic socks or pantyhose do not absorb perspiration and may also encourage friction against the inside of shoes, particularly enclosed styles. This friction heats up the foot, increasing the amount of perspiration, which in turn leads to a 'hot-house' effect inside the shoe - making the inside hot and slippery. This then becomes an ideal environment for unwanted bacteria and fungus.
The shoe then starts to smell, and so do the feet. Once infected, it is virtually impossible to
get rid of this bacteria and fungus from the shoes, and obviously feet are then prone to infections.

Better quality socks are usually a mixture of Cotton/Nylon/Elastane - and should be listed in that order,
to show that they are predominantly cotton. Elastane is for stretch. Price may not be an accurate guide to quality.

It should be noted that some individuals have feet that perspire excessively and can end up with feet and footwear that smell a lot more than normal.
For these people footwear and hosiery choices are extremely important in order to maintain good foot health.

10. JOGGERS

Well designed and constructed proper running shoes or joggers should be made to reduce undue strain on the feet, legs, knees and back while running on hard surfaces.
Some of the main features to look for in joggers include:

* Light weight construction, breathable mesh front

* The sole of the jogger should have a thick, soft, light-weight midsole to reduce jarring, and a thin, hardwearing outsole for durability.

* The back two thirds of the sole unit should be completely rigid, and only bend under the ball of the foot and toe area. Beware of joggers where the midsole narrows at the side in the middle of the shoe, in an hour-glass type shape, as it weakens the strength of the midsection.

* The back portion of the sole should be wedge shaped, viewed from the side. The outer side of the mid-sole, underneath the heel needs to be softer than the inner side to reduce pronation. Recent studies by sports medicine experts have shown that visible plastic bubbles of air under the full heel, at the sides in the mid-sole area of some joggers, may have a destabilizing effect while running, so are not recommended.

* Overall foot and leg stability while running, is more important than softness underneath the foot.

* The innersole directly under the heel, inside the shoe, should be made of impact absorbing foam and be of reasonable thickness to be effective in reducing the jarring on heel strike.

* The surface of the innersole inside the shoe should not feel slippery when walking or running, as this increases friction and heat and reduces stability inside the shoe.

* The back part of the upper to be high behind the heel, and have a strong heel counter and a padded,
securely fitted top-line to ensure heel stability.

* The front part of the shoe must not be too tapered at the sides so as to pressure the little toe, nor too wide
or too deep so as to create movement and friction inside the shoe while running.

* Tennis and squash shoes and many cross trainers are unsuitable for running.

* Absorbent cotton mixture socks should be worn when running at all times. If perspiration is excessive, change them as often as necessary. Wearing any sport shoe without socks is not recommended, as the perspiration generated stays in the shoe, encouraging the growth of unwanted bacteria and fungus.

* Softer running surfaces such as grass or sand should be used where possible to reduce jarring, rather than using roads or footpaths.

11. HYGIENE AND SOME COMMON FOOT AILMENTS

* The obvious - wash feet daily, preferably in the evening, drying carefully between the toes.

* Cut toe-nails straight across or very gently curved, level with the tips of the toes, to avoid ingrown toe-nails.

* Avoid the use of foot-powders, if possible.

* Wear absorbent socks or pantyhose at all times with enclosed footwear; the main exception here is if you go sailing on a boat.

* AIR-CONDITIONING SHOES. If your feet get too hot, or perspire excessively, especially when dancing for
long periods, it may be advantageous to punch 2 or 3 ventilation holes on the inner side of each enclosed shoe, with an eyelet punch. Do this with care, as this action works better on some upper materials than on others,
and will void the manufacturer's warranty on the shoes.

* FOOT ODOUR is caused by a build up of anaerobic bacteria and fungus growing happily in socks, shoe linings and
upper materials. There are 250,000 sweat glands in each foot, so reduce contributing factors as much as possible .
Shoes should be aired each evening [without socks stuffed in them], preferably near an open window.
Remember once a shoe is infected, it will invariably stay that way. If all fails, then medical or podiatric advice should be taken.

* TINEA is a fungal condition of the skin, often occurring between the toes, under the ball of the foot, and even on toe-nails.
This fungus likes warm, dark and moist conditions that may arise from wearing synthetic hosiery or non-breathing footwear,
and is very contagious. Feet with soggy broken skin between the toes are easily infected, particularly by contact with
wet floors found in communal showers and swimming pools. Wearing synthetic beach style thongs or sandals in these areas, will help prevent infection. Seek medical advice.

* DISCOLOURED TOE-NAILS may be the result of a fungal infection. Use Daktarin tincture on the nails or seek medical advice.

* CRACKED or DRY HEELS. Use special Dry Skin creams or Heel Balms containing 10% + urea.
Massage onto skin or heels, twice daily.
Any abrasive action on hard skin, should be done extremely carefully, small amounts each day.
Fungal infections may be a contributing factor here also.
If this is the case, then use a small amount of "Tea tree Antiseptic Cream" or "Bio-Juven SBS1 Skin Balm before you use the heel balm with 10% urea, or seek medical advice.

* CORNS AND CALLUSES. Are usually the result of constant rubbing and pressure by the shoe on the skin of the foot. Very common on toes, especially the little one. Continuous irritation, such as ill-fitting or overly rigid shoes, causes a build up of hard skin. Better fitting footwear and careful abrasive action usually fixes this problem.

* WARTS are a virus infection of the skin, which is possibly why the body's immune system has trouble getting rid of them. They tend to attack the skin more often when the skin is moist, or when the surface has been irritated or broken. PLANTAR WARTS are found on the soles, or under the heels of the feet. Advice from a podiatrist or other medical practitioner is recommended if they are a problem.

* BUNIONS [ Hallux Valgus ] most often arise from a type of joint misalignment. This condition, thought to be largely hereditary, is easily aggravated by tight socks or pantyhose, high heeled shoes, pointed toe shoes, or shoes that are too small or tight at the toe. In this condition, the large toe starts to angulate toward the second toe. The joint before the big toe becomes more prominent, enlarged and inflamed - leading to foot deformity, pain and loss of foot function later in adult life.

Professional help, even at age 4 to 5 years, is recommended. Controlling the rate of progression of this problem is not straight forward or guaranteed, so that continuing advice from a family doctor, podiatrist and chiropractor would be important to compare views.
Chiropractic mobilisation of the joint area, together with prescribed orthotics may assist in some cases.

Pointe work in Classical and Jazz Ballet will aggravate this problem. Women Latin and Ballroom dancers suffering from this condition should consider wearing shoes with heels as low as possible.

* DIABETES is a chronic disorder which, among other things, can cause a loss of sensation to the feet, impair blood circulation, reduce resistance to infection, and slow down the healing process. Accurately fitted shoes are necessary to protect the feet. Shoes and clothing must not impose excessive pressure or rub skin anywhere. Shoes should be worn everywhere for protection, to avoid the possibility of cuts and abrasions, which could cause infection. It could be a problem for energetic dancers. Medical supervision is essential at all times.

12. PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

* A podiatrist is a health professional who deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions of the feet and lower legs.

* In many situations a good chiropractor or osteopath, expert in foot mobilisation will complement the advice given by a podiatrist.

* For some specific problems an orthopaedic doctor may need to be consulted.

* Unfortunately the solution[s], if any, to many biomechanical foot problems are not black and white.
This particular medical area can be a minefield of complexity,with no one type of medical practitioner able to give you all the correct answers, all the time.

My best advice, regardless of who you see, is to be very proactive in your approach.
Write things down, never be afraid to ask questions, be open minded and informed about dealing with the above medical conditions, follow the advice given, and if in doubt get a second opinion.
If surgery is recommended always get an opinion from at least two surgeons and one chiropractor.

13. CORRECTIVE ORTHOTIC DEVICES [arch supports]

True orthotic devices are specially prescribed footwear inserts, individually made to be worn in shoes, to reduce symptoms arising from foot and leg problems. They are designed according to very precise measurements, which determine the exact relationship between the bones, muscles and ligaments of each foot in stance and gait. Depending on circumstances and preferences, these orthotics may be made from rigid plastic or from softer materials. They may cover the length of the foot, or just the back part.

If rigid orthotics are used for sporting activities, advice should be taken as to their suitability for those sports, particularly if jarring is involved. If problems or discomfort occurs in connection with the wearing of orthotics, always go back to the prescribing podiatrist immediately for advice.

Orthotics need to be reviewed every 12 months or so, depending on the amount of foot growth [for younger people], the physical condition of the orthotics themselves and of course whether it is felt they are effectively doing the job for which they were prescribed.

NEVER buy any form of pre-made arch supports before obtaining professional advice from a podiatrist: the most well meaning intentions may have unpredictable results, causing even more problems to the feet, legs, knees, pelvis or back.

Because there are so few nerves in the bones, pain associated from disfunctional joints comes from the soft tissues in the joints and muscles. For many people with foot, leg, knee and back pain, prescribed orthotics can be a gift from heaven, whereby alleviating some of their aches and pains, allowing them to live a more normal life.

Health supplements such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM are now often prescribed by many Health Professionals to alleviate pain and to assist in the regeneration of damaged joints.

14. FOOT MEASURING DEVICES and SIZING SYSTEMS

When you go into a shoe store they may or may not have some sort of foot measuring device to find out your foot size. You should be aware that these devices should be used as a guide only for foot size. They are used mainly for measuring foot length and for checking variations between the left and right foot.
Due to a lack of accuracy and conformity of shoe sizes, foot or shoe width or girth measurements usually have little meaning.

There is one thing that all these different foot measuring devices have in common: each one will agree to disagree on what your size actually is. Despite claims to the contrary, they are all calibrated to slightly different standards, so that each device will give a slightly different reading for any given foot length.

Prior to World War II the US sizing system was much less variable than it is now. Since the USA began to import huge amounts of sports footwear from S.E. Asia in the 1960's and 1970's, there seems to be a lot less control over sizing standards. It is now very common for both UK and US sizes to vary in length not only among manufacturers, but even among various footwear styles made in a single factory.

Examples of these labelling discrepancies on UK / US / EUR size equivalents, can be found on the labels inside nearly all brands of imported footwear, particularly sports shoes.

15. MAIN SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Sydney Technical College School of FootwearSchool of Podiatry

The Australian Podiatry Association [NSW]
British Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association
"Buying Power" by Helen Wellings [Publisher 'Arnold']
Clark's Footwear Training Manual
"Foot and Ankle Pain" by Rene Cailliet, M.D. [2nd Edition]
South African Bureau of Standards [1977]
Dancing Shoes Australia information files Edited by
podiatrists and chiropractors.

[c] Copyright Garry Abeshouse 1983, 1987, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005

'Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions of Use'

This is where our new shop is:

The Footwear Centre
Shop 2, Burwood Plaza,
42 Railway Parade,
Burwood, NSW, 2134.
(The shop is OUTSIDE the Plaza,
next to Town & Country Real Estate)

Our new shop is right in the centre
of the main Burwood shopping centre.

For your conveniencee
we are now open 7 days a week.


Mon-Wed & Fri: 9:00am to 6:30pm
Thu: 9:00am to 8:00pm
Sat: 9:00am to 6:00pm
Sun: 9:00am to 5:00pm


Looking forward to meeting you
and your friends for a fitting.