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What are Orthopedic Shoes?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Orthopedic shoes are specially designed shoes that provide support and pain relief for people suffering with some type of pain in the legs, ankles, or feet. Historically, the shoes are designed with an eye more toward function than fashion, although the orthopedic footwear of today is usually more attractive than the selections in years past. While many people assume that only the elderly wear medical shoes of this type, the fact is that the orthopedic shoe is worn by people of all ages.

Generally, the main function of orthopedic shoes is to provide more support for the feet and ankles than is accomplished by basic footwear. The exact design for the shoes will vary, depending on the nature of the particular health problem of the wearer. For example, different types of orthopedic shoes would be used to provide relief for such condition as bunions, hammertoe, or fallen arches. There is no one design for the orthopedic shoe that will effectively work for all types of foot or leg problems.

In general, wearing orthopedic shoes is a good idea whenever there is any type of health issue that makes it painful to walk. This includes foot conditions that make wearing commercial shoes uncomfortable, or situations where walking in regular shoes causes fatigue and pain in the muscles or bones of the legs. Because people of all ages and genders can experience pain of this type, there are shoes designed for children and adults alike.

Along with the shoes, there are other forms of orthopedic footwear that may be appropriate. Orthopedic socks are sometimes sufficient to alleviate stress and discomfort in the feet and lower legs. Orthopedic slippers are useful for wearing around the house. Wearing orthopedic boots may provide additional support to the ankles and legs that could not be achieved with orthopedic shoes.

While footwear of this type were once constructed using basic black materials, the orthopedic shoes of today are available in a wider range of colors. The wider selection of colors makes it possible to select shoes that fit into an individual’s usual style of dress with greater ease. Orthopedic boots and slippers are available in a wider range of colors as well.

There are several characteristics that just about all orthopedic shoes and boots have in common. The heels are generally extra firm and low in comparison to the heels found on many other types of shoes. Wide toes help to eliminate pinching, while the shank help to support the heel and back of the ankle with enhanced efficiency. It is also not unusual for orthopedic shoes to be constructed with inner soles that can be removed. This makes it possible to utilize different inner soles that will provide the most comfort and support for a particular individual.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By closerfan12 — On Jul 23, 2010

I've always kind of liked the older chunky ones -- not for wearing, but because they remind me of my grandmother.

By galen84basc — On Jul 23, 2010

@StreamFinder -- Just google "stylish orthopedic shoes" or "fashionable orthopedic shoes" -- a bunch of results will come up.

So they certainly aren't stiletto stylish, but there really are a lot of decent looking designs out there, and they come in different styles too -- everything from sandals to clogs to Mary Janes.

Best of luck!

By StreamFinder — On Jul 23, 2010

Is it really possible to find stylish orthopedic shoes?

My podiatrist says I have fallen arches and should start wearing orthopedic shoes, but the ones he showed me in brochures were, well...not nice.

Maybe I've just got a hangup about it, but it seems that most orthopedic shoes are just chunky.

Am I just looking in the wrong places, or have I got a blind spot about this?

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum

Writer

Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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