Foot abnormalities and difficulty walking are
common problems for people with CMT. Having the
right shoes can make a huge difference! The right
pair of shoes can make walking and balance easier
and far more comfortable. But how do you know what
type of shoes to look for?
What kinds of problems do people with CMT
experience with their feet?
People with CMT develop feet with increasingly
high arches and lateral instability (the outside of
their feet roll out). This makes it increasingly
difficult for their feet to adequately fit into
shoes, adding to a feeling of greater instability
during stance and in gait; this can lead to
ulcerations, ankle, knee and hip disturbances,
balance problems, postural weakness, and long term
What are common kinds of concerns that
people with CMT should have when looking for shoes?
Beyond the usual concerns of style, color, etc.,
people with CMT should think of their shoes as an
appliance or device to aid them to improve stability
and balance while standing and walking. This
should include the amount and type of support they
receive, particularly along the lateral side of
their feet. They should focus on finding
something that the foot fits into and allows for
necessary modifications to improve balance and gait.
What does a pedorthist do?
A pedorthist is a footcare pharmacist, providing
shoes and related devices to help improve balance,
alignment, posture and gait. Pedorthists are trained
to properly fit people with shoes and orthotics,
ready-made and custom-made. Pedorthists fill
footwear prescriptions from physicians. He or she is
trained in anatomy, biomechanics, foot pathology,
and the use of shoes and orthotic based approaches
to help people suffering from mechanical problems
that occur in the foot and ankle. A pedorthist is
trained to proactively alleviate pain and imbalance
and help people lead more active lives.
Do people with CMT need custom shoes?
Depending on the degree of deformity, some people
require custom shoes to accommodate their needs.
Each case must be individually assessed and
evaluated. Often people with CMT do best with
ready-made shoes that are customized to their needs.
Can people with CMT get modifications in their
old shoes as their conditions change?
Absolutely! People with CMT know that
their condition is progressive. Their shoes
should be modified to slow down the progression and
provide improved balance, alignment and gait each
step of the way. Also remember that shoes wear out;
they should be repaired on a regular basis. This
will also improve wear life. And, at a certain
point, it is best to start with a fresh pair.
Are any shoes already designed with extra room
to fit braces, without having to get them modified?
There are many brands of
ready-made shoes called Extra-Depth Shoes.
These are shoes designed and manufactured with extra
room to specifically meet the accommodative needs of
braces. Also people should consider a shoe
that goes above the ankle and a removable insole.
Can good shoes prevent further foot problems?
Can it reduce the future severity of walking
We canít stop the
progression of their condition. We can help
slow it down by helping them improve their body
balance. Proper footwear can aid in ambulation and
accommodate their feet, ankles and legs.
Are there any insurance plans that would cover part
of the shoe?
You would have to check with your
insurance provider. This is something that varies
considerably from policy to policy.
How do I
know what type of features to look for to find the
best shoe for me?
How can I find a
pedorthist to set up a consultation?
www.bocinternational.org to locate a pedorthist or
pedorthic facility in your area.
A special thanks
to Robert Schwartz, President, CEO Eneslow Pedorthic
Enterprises, Inc., Dr. Justin Wernick, Sarah
Goldberg and Bart Sherwood for providing us with the
answers to these questions.
Subscribea> to our weekly e-newsletter