As an amputee physiotherapist, I am often asked for advice by recent lower limb amputees on appropriate footwear.
One of the most common questions is:
What is the best type of shoe to wear on my prosthetic foot?
This is a very important question for several reasons.
Firstly, the most important issue for an amputee is taking care of your remaining foot. The shoes that you choose should be comfortable and supportive of your foot and also offer some shock absorption. They should not cause rubbing, blisters or pain in the foot.
Things to consider regarding the shoe for your prosthesis include:
- The heel height that you choose will be the heel height that your prosthesis is aligned for. This is important because it means that if you change the shoe on your prosthesis and it has a different heel height, you will alter the alignment of your prosthesis and this will affect your walking pattern and possibly the safety of your prosthesis. For example, an increase in heel height for an above knee amputee will cause the knee to be less stable and give way more freely which could result in a fall.
- The heel of the shoe should have a significant surface area to assist with balance on your prosthesis
- The shoe you choose should have a firm heel counter (the part of the shoe that encompasses the heel of your prosthetic foot). This will prevent the heel of the prosthesis slipping off the shoe as in the case of sling back shoes.
- Avoid long pointy toed shoes as these will make it harder for you to clear the ground as you swing the prosthesis through when walking.
- The sole should not be slippery
- If you are a diabetic amputee, you should always consult your podiatrist about appropriate footwear, especially in the case of Charcot’s deformities. In this situation, I recommend that you will need to have your shoes especially made.
- If you are unsure about the heel height of your shoe and the alignment of your prosthesis, always consult your prosthetist.
Please let me know if you have any other questions, comments or feedback.
Until next time,
Cathy … The Amputee Coach
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