Footwear modifications are adaptations made to a shoe(s) to improve foot function and/or accommodate specific pathologies. Although footwear has come a long way in terms of offering orthopedic or therapeutic features without affecting style, sometimes the shoe may need to be modified to be additionally accommodating. Below are a few examples of modifications we can provide:
Stretching: a simple solution to improve the fit of a shoe. It can be done to a specific area of the foot with a ball and ring stretcher or for the whole forefoot.
Excavations: are done to the inside of the shoe which entails a specific area to be ground down to reduce the pressure on sensitive areas. These hollowed areas are often filled with soft padding and are great for dropped metatarsal heads.
Flares and buttresses: are reinforcements to prevent the foot from “rolling out” (supinating) or “rolling in” (pronating), usually only required for severe cases. Material is added to the outside or inside edge of the shoe to assist the foot from distorting the shoe. A flare is an addition to the sole of the shoe, whereas a buttress actually comes up against the leather part of the shoe as well as the sole.
Rocker soles: a rocker sole can have several functions depending on where the bending point of the rocker is designed on the sole of the shoe. This is an addition of material (varying in thickness based on aliments) onto the sole of a shoe designed with a “rocker” effect. Rocker soles can be created to relieve pain in the ball of the foot or to improve gait for patients with fused ankles or fractured heel bones. Rocker soles can also aggressively offload certain areas of the foot for more acute conditions such as stress fractures or diabetic ulcers.
Lifts: occasionally people have a shorter leg which can often express itself in knee problems, lower back pain, or foot problems on one side (usually the longer leg). To solve this problem, we insert small lifts inside the shoe (usually no more than 1cm thick). In severe cases where the leg length differences requires more of a lift in order to correct the discrepancy, the addition of material to the outside of the shoe can be completed.
Our Pedorthists have the experience and skill to blend in the modifications so that they are discreet. Most of these modifications can be made to everyday footwear as well as sports footwear such as hockey, speed or figure skates, and boots for hiking. Some modifications are not appropriate for all types of footwear and your options should be discussed carefully with a trained Certified Pedorthist.