Stay Away from Leprechaun Sized Shoes this St. Patrick’s Day!

Whether you are running in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K at Flannagan’s this Saturday in Columbus or simply running to the pub, taking care of your feet can make or break your celebration of this lucky holiday. Properly fitting shoes are imperative for good foot health, and also can help in avoiding knee, hip and back problems that develop from the problems originating in your feet!

When you travel to a shoe store, most have what is called a “Brannock device” that is used to measure feet and estimate shoe size. This device measures not only the length of your foot from heel to toe, but also measures width, and the distance from heel to the ball of your foot. The heel to ball distance is most critical in determining whether a shoe fits correctly. Located at the “ball” of your foot on the middle or inner aspect is the joint called the 1stmetatarsophalangeal joint or 1stMTP. This is where a bunion develops, but the normal movement permitted by the joint is also critical to the overall function of the foot. The base of the joint is the first metatarsal which slides downward in order for the big toe to flex upwards and help propel the foot when walking or running. When this motion sequence occurs in a normal foot, the foot pushes off the ground and swings into the next step.

Correctly fitting shoes allow the 1stMTP to function as it should, while shoes that are too small can cause major problems. Shoes are designed to allow the normal bend at the 1stMTP joint and to inhibit abnormal bending of most other joints in the foot. However if the shoe is too small, the 1stMTP joint will not be allowed to bend normally and big toe will be forced to flex upwards when it should not be. This leads to the condition called hallux limitus, where, as the name implies, the movement of the hallux, or big toe, is limited. Overtime, hallux limitus can progress to hallux rigidus where the joint big toe joint is practically immovable. This is a painful form of arthritis that has resulted from the abnormal wear and tear of the joint. Not only is this painful, but the combination of hallux limitus or rigidus in an already too small shoe can lead to calluses, corns and even ulcers developing on the big toe.

It is important to recognize that biomechanical problems, including excessive pronation, can also contribute to the development of hallux limitus so custom orthotics can often help with this condition. Wearing one size larger shoe is only a difference of one third of an inch in the actual length of the shoe. So this St. Patrick’s day even if you think that a smaller size shoe may look better, by getting the correct size for your foot you will definitely have the luck of the Irish and keep your feet looking great!!

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia