When Should I Worry About...

PODCAST: How to Avoid Common Shoe Mistakes

Feb. 21, 2023

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You probably don't think about your health when you buy shoes, but they support one of the body's most complex structures — your feet, the site of 25% of your bones and muscles. According to polls, 8 in 10 adults experience problems with their feet. What's more is that the wrong shoes or wrong fit can also affect your legs, knees, hips, back and neck. What do you need to know to choose the right footwear? What happens when you don't? In this episode, we discuss the different conditions caused by improper footwear, what makes for the perfect fit and how to select the right shoe for the right activity.

Hosts: Zach Moore, Todd Ackerman (interviewer)

Expert: Dr. Andrew Friedmann, Orthopedic Surgeon

Notable topics covered:

  • The signs it's time to replace your shoes
  • How often you can wear those boots, heels and flip-flops
  • What's more important for foot health – the shoe or the fit
  • What happens when shoes are too big or when they're too tight
  • The optimal time of day to shop for new shoes
  • Specialized athletic shoes: Necessary? Or just capitalism run amuck?
  • Are there actually health benefits to barefoot shoes?
  • How to care for your feet after removing your shoes


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Episode Transcript

ZACH: Welcome to On Health with Houston Methodist. I'm Zach Moore. I'm a photographer and editor here, and I've worked in multimedia and television for over 15 years — and I'm also a longtime podcaster.


TODD: I'm Todd Ackerman. I’m a writer/editor who previously covered Science and Medicine for the Houston Chronicle.


ZACH: And, Todd, how many pairs of shoes would you say that you own?


TODD: Well, I'm not the guy equivalent of Imelda Marcos, if that's what you're asking.


ZACH: Who is that?


TODD: I forgot I was dealing with a young whippersnapper here. She was the first lady of the Philippines back in the mid-60s to mid-80s, who, late in her husband's term, became quite well known for the thousands of shoes that she owned.


ZACH: Thousands of shoes?


TODD: Yes.


ZACH: Okay. Well, I'm not Imelda Marcos either, because I have about six or seven pairs of shoes total.


TODD: That's a little more than me. I have a couple pairs of dress shoes, one black, one brown, that I used to wear when we came into the office. And before millennials change the dress code.


ZACH: As we both sit here in the blue jeans. Yes, go on.


TODD: And I have a couple of pairs of boots that I don't wear near as often as I used to when I was younger. And I have a single pair of tennis shoes, which I wear most every day.


ZACH: Single pair of tennis shoes?


TODD: Yeah.


ZACH: How long have you had this one pair of tennis shoes?


TODD: Uh, I think it's been about a year and a half now. I'm probably getting close to the point where I need to replace them. I usually hang on to them too long and only replace them when people start commenting on how tattered they starting to look.


ZACH: Same for me. My tennis shoes, I usually wear them until something starts falling off or someone's like, “Hey, these are just kind of fall apart.” That’s when I’m like, oh, maybe you're right. Yeah, I have a couple of pairs of tennis shoes now, one of which being my last pair, which once I stopped wearing every day, I still kept for, I don't know, if I'm going to do something where I want to have tennis shoes, but it might be messy or dirty and I might mess up those shoes and I want to mess up my newer shoes. So that's kind of my backup pair. I have a pair of boots I wear a lot. I really do like cowboy boots, they make me taller, which is a huge plus. Then probably about three or four kinds of dress shoes, a couple of brown, couple of black, some slip on, some tie shoes. And that's — there's, there's my closet, there's my shoe rack. If anyone was curious.


TODD: You sound in better shape than me.


ZACH: Thank you. Shoes get maybe the short end of the stick when it comes to discussing your health. Because, maybe because they're so far down there on the ground with your feet? I don't know what the hierarchy of your health is, but what do you think about that?




TODD: Yeah, I think we just don't think about them. But they do support, you know, they're the foundation for carrying all this weight. And I looked it up and I noticed the foot has 33 joints, 26 bones, and over 100 ligaments.


ZACH: Mm hmm.


TODD: So that's a pretty complicated thing that they’re supporting.


ZACH: Yeah. And when we go to buy shoes at a shoe store or a sporting goods store, it can be overwhelming because there seems to be shelves and shelves worth of a specific shoe for a specific function. And it's hard to even tell what the difference even is or even if it matters.


TODD: Yeah, it really seems like capitalism run amuck. When I go into a shoe store and try to decide what I want, I have no idea what all the different variations for, for the different activities are. That's something I asked Dr. Andrew Friedmann, an orthopedic doctor at Houston Methodist — so he could give us some guidance on what kind of shoes to buy and what kind of fit you should be looking for.


[Sound effect signaling beginning of interview]


TODD: Hey, DR. FRIEDMANNn, welcome to the podcast.


DR. FRIEDMANN: I'm very excited to be here. Thank you for having me.


TODD: So, we're going to be talking about the health impact of shoes. I assume most people mostly consider cost and looks and trends when they get new shoes, giving little thought to the health effects. Is that consistent with your experience?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah, it seems to be a lot of people choose shoes based on look and comfort level. Some you know look for more than comfort. What comes to mind is a lot of times ladies with high heels, those aren't the most comfortable shoe, according to my wife. She says that they're not super comfortable, but they look good.


TODD: And so how much of the problems you see are caused by shoes?


DR. FRIEDMANN: A lot of times we do see conditions that come from different types of shoe wear. What comes to mind initially is bunions. A lot of times we see bunions in patients that wear narrow toe box shoes, a lot of stilettos, high heels have narrow toe boxes. And even some athletic shoes are made more for a narrow foot, and they don't have a wide enough toe box. And that can put pressure on the joint of the big toe and can add to some of the pathology that we see in bunions.


TODD: So, it tends to be the shoe itself more than the fit.


DR. FRIEDMANN: It can be the shoe itself. Sometimes it can be the fit, if they're not properly sized. There is also a hereditary component with bunions, so some people just get bunions just because it's kind of in their family. But some of the etiology does come from wearing narrow toe box shoes.


TODD: Since you mentioned bunions, are there shoes that are better to prevent those?


DR. FRIEDMANN: You know, I usually recommend that patients wear shoes that have a wide toe box, an athletic shoe, a good comfortable shoe. Some dress shoes are better for that, especially ones that, you know, when you're looking at the shoe, you want to make sure that it's not too narrow at the point. One thing that we see in Texas a lot is cowboy boots. And so some of the cowboy boots are more narrow at the at the toe and create some pressure on there.


TODD: So, speaking of boots, it's rodeo season. Any advice you give to people who'll be wearing boots a lot?


DR. FRIEDMANN: You know, just find a good pair of boots that fits you well. I recommend that you have some room in the toe box, but I understand that some of the boots that may be more fashionable or for more formal occasion, you know, may have a slightly smaller toe box. So just be aware of that. And maybe if you have a couple of pairs of boots, you can wear a different style one day at the rodeo and then maybe wear a different style the next day, just to give your feet a little bit of a different view of boots. So, I love boots and I wear them, especially when I go to the rodeo. So, I think it's totally reasonable to do that. But just be aware that if you're on them for a long period of time, you may experience some for pain and may have to switch over to tennis shoes when you're not at the rodeo.


TODD: But for those who wear them a lot, the feet can withstand daily wearing?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, cowboys have been wearing boots for forever, since their, you know, kind of inception. So, I think if you're wearing them for three or four weeks, I don't think you're going to do any long-lasting damage to your feet by wearing them. But, you know, when you get home that evening, you know, you can stretch out your Achilles tendon a little bit, do some range of motion exercises for the feet and again, get them up, you know, sometimes even above the level of your heart to help some of that swelling come out of them.


TODD: So, any other common shoe cause problems.


DR. FRIEDMANN: We see a lot of problems with flip flops, unfortunately, because I know a lot of people like to wear them, especially as it gets warmer outside. Big issues with flip flops are they don't offer a lot of support. Some of the ones that you can get off the rack can exacerbate problems like plantar fasciitis and flatfoot.


TODD: And the problems that shoes can cause, I assume are not just to the feet, but to the ankles, legs, knees?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Absolutely. One thing that we see in shoes that don't offer a lot of support is they’re utilized in not the way that they're intended. For example, if you're running around in flip flops, you know, you can more easily roll your ankle or slip because there's not a good heel on the back of it to kind of hold your foot in place.


TODD: And as a foot and ankle surgeon, do you do you find shoes lead to the need for surgery very often?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Not just shoes in general, but injuries that are that can be caused by wearing the wrong types of shoes or, you know, people that have suffered with bunions for a long period of time or flat foot for a long period of time, who may not have been wearing the correct shoes or shoes that really fit their foot well, may require surgery, you know, to kind of help correct the position of the toe or the foot.


TODD: How much are shoes carriers of disease-causing infections?


DR. FRIEDMANN: You know, you can get things like athlete's foot, usually not fulminant infections like with bacteria, although if you’ve, say, sustained a nail puncture through a shoe, you want to be careful to cover it. Certain types of bacteria that can be found on the feet and on the bottom of the shoe can then get driven up into the skin and into the foot.


TODD: But there's no great need to wash your tennis shoes?


DR. FRIEDMANN: I've not seen many infections from shoes that may be a little older, dirty. The biggest problem is if something punctures that shoe and gets into your skin from that.


TODD: So, generally, what happens when shoes are too big?


DR. FRIEDMANN: When shoes are too big, the foot can slip out of them. For example, if you have running shoes that aren't fitted appropriately, your heel can slip, which can create you stumbling whilst you're running, potentially causing Achilles ruptures or bad ankle sprains, things like that. So, finding the right fit a shoe is very important.


TODD: And, conversely, what happens when shoes are too small?


DR. FRIEDMANN: When shoes are too small or too tight, they can create issues, pain in the foot. I've seen some patients with arthritis in their midfoot, in the middle of the foot, because there's a lot of tiny bones within the foot itself and a lot of joints. And, so, if shoes are too tight fitting, it can create pain, problems with running or completing your athletic activity or your exercise that you would like to do. And generally, towards the end of the day, the feet do swell a little bit. So, it's important to get a good fitting shoe that's going to allow for some of that swelling, especially if you're doing an athletic activity.


TODD: Yeah, I read something that you should go shop at the end of the day or after activity because your feet get larger than. I'd never heard that.


DR. FRIEDMANN: That is actually correct. Actually, that's a recommendation from the AOC, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Them and the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon Society recommend that if you are going to get a new pair of shoes, you go towards the end of the day or after you've gone for a run, as that's the time that your feet are the largest.


TODD: And at the end of the day, when you take your shoes off, do you recommend doing anything to sort of massage your feet or exercise?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah, I think exercising your feet is great. You know, moving them up and down, kind of trying to write the ABCs with your toes will help to mobilize the ankle and all the specific directions that it can move and the foot itself. I also recommend, you know, if you have a massager at home, you can certainly do that. Stretching, especially the Achilles tendon, is very important throughout the day. And I don't think we as a society do enough stretching. I'm always advocating in my clinic to stretch, stretch, stretch, especially the Achilles tendon. It's very important to rest your feet, too, and maybe get them up, maybe kick them up, you know, let some of the swelling drain out. Most people that have sore feet, at the end of the day, they may notice a little bit of swelling. You know, it'll go away when they wake up in the morning. But I think shoe wear has a big impact in that. And I think it's good at the end of the day to kick your feet up and relax a little bit.


TODD: Is lacing your shoes too tight a problem?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yes, it can certainly be a problem. Your foot does swell throughout the day and may get a little bigger. So, if at the beginning of the morning you lace your shoes up extremely tight, they can create issues as your foot swells, and create pain. And you may have to find yourself loosening your laces. I also see in patients with arthritis of their foot, you can get bone spurs kind of on the top of your foot. And so sometimes it's as simple as just skipping a lace or an eyelet to allow space for that bone spur to kind of sit.


TODD: So, what's the perfect fit?


DR. FRIEDMANN: So, the perfect fit, there's room to wiggle the toes in the in the toe box. The laces are not too tight. And it's important to un-lace your shoes when you first get them and then re-lace them yourself so that you can kind of get the fit appropriate. And then also making sure that your heel won't slip out of them. So, one thing that I recommend is if you're going to get new shoes, one, go at the end of the day to make sure that you kind of walk around or even do a couple of running steps in the store to make sure that your heels not going to slip out of the shoe. You also want a shoe that has good arch support, something that's going to cushion your foot, especially if you're doing athletic activities.


TODD: So, you need to take into account your particular foot arch type?


DR. FRIEDMANN: There are manufacturers of shoes who make different styles of their shoe for people that may overpronate, which basically means they kind of have a flatter foot compared to those that may have a cavus foot, or a higher arch in their in their foot. And I think that it's important to find a shoe that feels comfortable for you. And that's why it's important to walk around and the shoe should feel comfortable almost immediately. There's not really, you know, there's kind of a myth of breaking in athletic shoes. You know, that's true in some respects, just getting used to them. But the shoe should be comfortable when you first put it on. If it's uncomfortable, then you may need a different size or a different style to fit your foot.


TODD: They don't expand a little bit as they're worn?


DR. FRIEDMANN: I think there's certainly probably some expansion, some stretching out of the shoe, especially if you're a runner, you know, you're going to see some stretching out of that shoe. But I think when you try the shoe on, it should be pretty comfortable for you.


TODD: And over time, your feet can grow? So, you should have them measured regularly when you go?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah. I think it's important to have measured, especially if it's been a year or two since you've gotten shoes, just to make sure your foot hasn't changed size. You know, if you're a lady who who wears or a man who wears a certain size of shoe and you've always worn that your entire life, you know, as you get older, your feet do kind of get a little bigger. They can elongate, they can get a little flatter. We certainly see that in ladies after they're pregnant. Sometimes their shoe size goes up a little bit. So, it's important to get your foot measured, especially if you haven’t had to buy shoes in a while.


TODD: And one foot can be bigger than the other foot?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah, but usually not to a degree that you wouldn't require two different size shoes, however that is possible. But it's usually a couple of millimeters difference.


TODD: How are over-the-counter inserts for your shoes?


DR. FRIEDMANN: I think, in certain situations ,inserts are really good, especially over-the-counter inserts. Some provide a little extra arch support. Some provide a little bit of support on maybe the outside of the foot. Some patients come in with outside of the foot pain, usually those with really high arches. So, there are different over-the-counter inserts that you can try, which can relieve some of the pressure on those points. And I think that it's really good for patients to try that. And there are so many different varieties out there. I don't know that there's one specific one I usually recommend, you kind of do some research online and kind of see what may fit your foot. There are some retailers that will watch you walk on a on a treadmill to see what may benefit you and if it's comfortable and it doesn't create more pain and doesn't cause you issues, then I think it's totally appropriate to utilize it.


TODD: Any other tips that you give when people go to buy shoes? Wearing the socks you know you're going to wear? Is that correct?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah. Wearing, you know, especially if we're talking about athletic shoes, you do want to wear the socks that you would be wearing during the athletic period. If it's shoes that you are going to wear on an everyday basis, you want to try them on with the socks that you would be wearing normally. I think that that's really important because if you're going to try a shoe on and maybe you wore thin socks or you weren't wearing socks and you decide to buy a pair of shoes, the socks being too thin may throw off your sizing.


TODD: How long should you wear shoes before you replace them?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Generally, I think it depends on how much you're utilizing them. If you're wearing a different pair of shoes each day of the week, then you know, I think you can go a year or two, sometimes even three years. If you're wearing the same tennis shoes every day or the same types of shoes every day, you know, I usually generally recommend every year, or every year and a half, getting new shoes, especially if they start to wear out.


TODD: And you recommend varying the shoes you wear.


DR. FRIEDMANN: You know, when I was training in West Virginia, my foot and ankle mentor was very adamant about athletic shoes being the best shoes for your feet. They're cushioned. But that's not always practical for business, for church, those kind of things, and for even just, you know, events where you want to get dressed up. So, I think varying the type of shoe is totally okay. You just have to know that if a shoe is hurting your foot or causing you pain towards the end of the day, then you may want to look for a different style or type of shoe.


[Music begins to play to signal brief interjection]


ZACH: The foot is an evolutionary marvel, with many parts working together to get you from one place to another. But supporting your weight in motion every day can put feet at high risk of breaking down. Here are some of the most common conditions that can develop: Athlete's foot, a fungal skin infection that usually begins between the toes. Athlete's foot typically occurs and people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight fitting shoes. Signs and symptoms of athlete's foot include an itchy, scaly rash. Bunions, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. Bunions occur when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place. This causes the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes and forces the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. Wearing tight, narrow shoes can cause bunions or make them worse. Corns, a type of callus, corns are painful, thickened, yellowing patches of skin that occur on the top side of the toes and the sides and bottom of feet. They develop when the skin tries to protect itself against friction or pressure usually caused by too snug fitting shoes. Hammer toes, a deformity that causes your toe to bend or curl downward instead of morning forward. Hammer toes are usually caused by shoes with high heels or narrow toe boxes, so named because the bend at the middle joint resembles a hammer. They're initially flexible and easily corrected, but if left untreated, they can become locked into position and require surgery. Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of each foot, a stabbing pain often worse with the first few steps after walking. It can be caused by a number of factors, including increased activity, level type of shoes, foot structure, walking surfaces, and the weight you carry neuroma, a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to the toes. The aroma affects the ball of the foot, most commonly between the third and fourth toes linked to high heeled and tight use. It causes pain often compared to standing on a pebble in the shoe or in a fold in the sock. Symptoms can also include burning numbness or tingling.


TODD: More with DR. FRIEDMANN after the break.


[Commercial plays]


TODD: We're back with DR. FRIEDMANN. When I go into these shoe stores, especially if I go into like a sporting goods store, I'm just overwhelmed by all the types there are.




TODD: Walking, running, hiking, basketball, tennis. I even see now, I'm already seeing specially-designed pickleball shoes. Do we really need all these different types?


DR. FRIEDMANN: You know, I think it is very important to have different types of shoes. A walking shoe versus a running shoe, you know, walking is a much different exercise than running. You know, running is a lot heavier, it's a higher impact type of exercise. The running shoes are kind of designed to be lightweight, but also durable when you go running. Walking shoes are a little more supportive of the foot because, you know, usually you're walking a lot longer than you may be running. At least I walk a lot longer than when I run. So, having walking shoes is good. You know, when you go to the hiking and trail running, you know, that's just to kind of help with the different type of environment you're going to be in. You know, a hiking shoe, you're going to be on uneven terrain. You want to be have something that's going to support not only your foot, but your ankle as well. And it's nice because they're waterproof, you know, if you get stuck in a puddle or something. And then, of course, specific shoes, like for basketball, you know, those are important because they help with gripping the court and making sure that, you know, you have the grip that you need to play basketball without losing your footing.


TODD: So, if you're pretty active, you probably do need quite a few, a variety of sneakers?


DR. FRIEDMANN: I usually have about two pairs of shoes. One is for my everyday walking around the hospital, in the office, those kind of things. And then, you know, I usually have one that's more for running or exercising or weightlifting. So, I think it's important to have a different variety of shoe and, especially if you play a variety of sports, you're going to need sports specific shoes, especially if you're competing at a moderate to high level.


TODD: And there's not really a great sort of all-purpose sports shoe?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Well, I mean, I think it's I think it's hard to make one shoe that can cover everything. You know, I think a lot of cross-training style shoes do have that ability, especially when we're talking about like, you know, weightlifting, running versus walking. But, you know, if you're getting into basketball, tennis, those kind of things, you know, you want to get shoes that have a good grip but allow you to move around. And so I think it's important to have sports specific shoes and when you get into hiking or trail running, you know, you want a shoe that's going to help support your foot on that uneven terrain to try to prevent injury.


TODD: High heels we mentioned. I've seen studies that they can cause just all manner of chronic problems, not just the feet, but, yeah, ankles, knees, hips, lower back.


DR. FRIEDMANN: Absolutely. You know, high heels are very fashionable, and people like to wear them, especially if they're getting dressed up. And I don't think that there's anything wrong with wearing them intermittently. But if you wear high heels every day, you can notice some increased pain in the ball of your foot because that's where most of the pressure is going. You know, our foot is designed as more of like a tripod. So, you have a contact point at the heel, you have a contact point underneath the first toe joint, and then you have a contact point under the fifth toe joint. And you kind of take that natural arch away when you go into the high heel, and you're also shortening your Achilles tendon, which can lead to mild contractures of that, which can also lead to increased pressure on the forefoot in the front of the foot, the ball of the foot.


TODD: But these can be problems that develop over time? I think most women think of how they're not comfortable when you're wearing them, but how much do they know that the long term problems that they could cause?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah, I think the long-term problems aren't really talked about as much. You know, if you wear a high heel shoe out on a night out and on the weekend or at church, I think that that's totally reasonable. But if you're wearing them every day, you know, I don't think a lot of people understand that they could be causing issues to their foot and their ankle as they get older.


TODD: Is there a recommendation you give to women sort of committed to wearing high heels? The height of them and the frequency of wearing them?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah, you know, the height of them opens them up to potentially breaking a heel and causing them to twist their ankle or even it can, in rare cases, cause them to fracture if they twist the right way. When patients come in and they just love to wear their high heels, you know, I always recommend to them that you can certainly wear them, you know, intermittently. But if you don't need to wear them, then maybe switch to a fashionable flat shoe or, you know, there are dress shoes that maybe don't have that kind of high, high heel to them.


TODD: Do you recommend any shoes for diabetics?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah. So, diabetics is a special case. Especially, you know, for the diabetic patients, their feet are very important. It's very important for them to take care of their feet. Some diabetics who may be uncontrolled can develop something called neuropathy. And when they have neuropathy, they don't have the protective sensation that people without neuropathy would have so they can, you know, step on a nail and not realize it. So, I always tell diabetic patients that they should check their feet every night before they go to bed to make sure that there's no wounds or anything like that. And then also getting a pair of diabetic shoes because they offer shoes that have less stress points on some of the bony prominences where diabetics can form wounds to their feet. Diabetic shoes now are much more fashionable than they were probably 25 years ago. So now they have different styles. A lot of times diabetic shoes look very similar to tennis shoes.


TODD: Generally speaking, for everyday walking, how are minimalist shoes?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Minimalist in the like, lighter type of shoe?


TODD: Yeah.


DR. FRIEDMANN: Yeah, you know, I think again it goes based on what you're comfortable with and what's comfortable for your foot. What I usually recommend for general everyday walking is a good supportive sole with good cushioning. That's really important. I've seen some people advocating for kind of going barefoot and the barefoot type shoes as kind of an ancestral thing where, you know, we didn't have shoes thousands of years ago, you know, so our bodies are designed to be able to go barefoot. And that's true in some respects. But at the same time, you know, having shoes has kind of changed the protection that we can give our feet, which, you know, our feet are very important to us because they allow us to walk.


TODD: Since you mentioned that, are there benefits to not wearing shoes sometimes, to walking barefoot around the house or in sand?


DR. FRIEDMANN: Some people will advocate for exercising in sand and some people exercise barefoot in sand, and that can help strengthen some of the muscles in your foot and more importantly in your leg to balance. But in general, you know, I think that wearing shoes more often than not is better. And I usually recommend in my patients that they if they don't wear shoes in the house, that they get a good pair of shoes that or slippers that have a good cushion thick sole on them.


TODD: Even walking around in socks is not a great idea.


DR. FRIEDMANN: Socks are, I mean, every everybody walks around in their socks. But the one issue that I have with socks is that they can cause you to slip and fall and, you know, because they can be kind of slick sometimes, especially if you're on a tile floor, hardwood floor.


TODD: In conclusion, sort of fundamentally, how should people think about their shoes?


DR. FRIEDMANN: You know, I think it's important for you to find shoes that fit appropriately. Again, you know, I'll reiterate, you should be able to wiggle your toes. You should have no slippage when you're walking, from the heel, or running. Fundamentally, it's important to get good shoes that are going to last for at least a year, even with wearing them every day and making sure that your feet are protected throughout the day. I hope that everybody that's listening out there does take care of their feet and treat their feet right, because they're going to be good to you if you're good to them. And I think that starts with thinking in the frame of mind of is this shoe going to protect my foot? Is this going to support my foot for everyday use?


TODD: Well, thanks for being on. I learned a lot and appreciate you taking the time to come out here and talk with us.


DR. FRIEDMANN: I really appreciate it. I look forward to doing this again sometime. This was a lot of fun.


[Sound effect to signal the end of the interview]


ZACH: So, some takeaways, Todd. I was very pleased to hear that wearing cowboy boots pretty regularly is okay for you because I like cowboy boots. I wear them very often as my dress shoes, have some nice black cowboy boots that I I wear a lot. And it's good to know they're not going to cause permanent damage to my feet.


TODD: As long as they fit correctly. I had a pair that I wore in my time that were pretty tight. And, so, looking back, I'm glad I didn't wear them more frequently.


ZACH: And that's something else that DR. FRIEDMANN touched on. Breaking shoes in. We all know that terminology. Oh, we got to break in these shoes. Well, there's only so much breaking in that can be done. Like if a shoe feels sort of uncomfortable when you're trying it on to buy, you probably should buy a different shoe, huh?


TODD: Yes, that was that's absolutely a message. Tennis shoes, I’ve always been pretty good about making sure they're comfortable right away.


ZACH: You mentioned at the start of the show how you have one pair of tennis shoes. Are you going to go out and buy some more after having this conversation?


TODD: Yeah, I think so. I think a lot of it depends on how invested you are in the particular activity. At this point in my life, I don't do that many activities that cause stress to the foot that frequently. I stopped running years ago when I developed some tendonitis in my leg. So now I do pretty much non stressful sorts of running. Played in a pickup basketball game recently. Occasionally, I go hiking. So I've never felt a great need for it, but I think I will look for a couple others that serve other purposes. How about you?


ZACH: Yeah, I'm going to try to rotate a little more, definitely the tennis shoes, the different dress shoes. I probably rotate just because of, “Oh, I'm wearing brown or black. Which belts am I going to wear? What's going to match?” Like that's kind of my inspiration for which shoes I'm going to wear today or not. You know, obviously doing a lot of the things that I do, running around with cameras and whatnot, it's good to have shoes that are durable and have good support, you know, because I'll be standing, I'll be on my feet for a long period of time, all day long, or sometimes running around trying to trying to get shots and whatnot. So having like dedicated shoes for, I don't know, the weekend and shoes for the weekday, some kind of differentiation maybe every other day. I know that he didn't say you have to switch them out that regularly, but for me something like that would probably be helpful because if not, I'll probably just wear them until they fall apart like we were talking about off the top, right?


TODD: Yeah, I'm the same way. You know, I used to have a standing desk at work and I could really feel my shoes at some point then. So, whenever I go back to that, I think I will get a more comfortable pair, make sure I have a very comfortable pair to wear.


ZACH: You know something else that Dr. Freedman mentioned that was interesting was talking about just walking around the house barefoot.


TODD: Yeah, I do that a lot.


ZACH: Yeah, I thought that’s what everybody did.


TODD: Especially in this age where we work remotely, I will often not end up putting on shoes until the evening.


ZACH: Yeah, it's interesting that he was like, Oh, you should probably, if you walk around on hard surfaces all the time, you should really put some shoes on.


TODD: Yeah, I think there is some debate about that. I read some stuff, some experts saying it's good to strengthen your feet doing that, which he acknowledged to some degree, but he didn't seem to think it was great to be spending a lot of time in your bare feet.


ZACH: Yeah, shoes are an article of clothing. You know, a lot of people have quite a collection. We're not those people, but there are a lot of people that do that. Various tennis shoes, be it because they're a certain brand or certain look. High heels, like a different color for a matching outfit. You know boots especially if you're, you know, its rodeo season, right? People having different pairs of boots, it’s a great time of year to break those out that you haven't worn in in a while. So hopefully, regardless of how many shoes you have or don't have, this podcast was informative.


TODD: Yeah, definitely. To me, things like when to shop for your shoes, like at the end of the day when you've engaged in some activity when they've swollen up. I'd never known that before. So that was really interesting to me to learn.


ZACH: Yeah, I've never thought about what time of day it is when I go to a shoe store. So definitely I'll be taking some of the steps of the next time I go buy some shoes.


TODD: Right. I think the important thing to remember, no matter what kind of shoe you're wearing, is don't ignore foot pain. Foot pain is not normal. So, if you if you start having some, consult your orthopedic doctor, podiatrist, so they can resolve the issue quickly, when it's most easily resolved.


ZACH: Absolutely. I'm going to put my shoes on here and wrap up, Todd. I'll see you next time.


TODD: Okay. Very good.


ZACH: And be sure to share, like, and subscribe On Health with Houston Methodist wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed this conversation, for more topics like this, visit our blog at houstonmethodist.org/blog. Stay tuned and stay healthy.

[End of episode]

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