by Neal Lebar (President of ICS Shoes)
Every week our Fitting Specialists receive inquiries from people who are in dire need of help. By the time they contact us, they've exhausted all of their options, hoping for a "magic bullet". The most critical issues are typically related to lymphodema, charcot, and AFO's (ankle & foot orthotics).
Ankle & Foot Orthotics (AFO's) are needed due to common conditions that occurs when a person has; flatfoot, drop foot, charcot, knee hyperextension, ankle instability, and weakness due to an injury. The AFO typically wraps around the entire foot and ankle, creating the need for a longer, wider, and extra depth shoe.
This week we received an inquiry (we don't make this up!) from Rose B., who wrote:
"I just got fitted and rec’d new California ankle/arch support orthotics for both feet. My husband took me to a shoe store, which was very frustrating...I couldn’t get both the brace/orthotic and my foot comfortably into any shoe. I realize, I’m going to NEED extra width and depth, but don’t know how to measure to order online and I’m not going to be able to start using them until I can get a shoe immediately.
Although I’m older, I’d still like to eventually get two or three shoes for different occasions that are comfortable, look nice, & don’t make me look like I have duck feet on steroids on my feet. I normally wear a 9-9.5 wide women’s, but because my feet tend to be a little wide without braces, often feel a little more comfortable wearing men’s running shoes. To accommodate my issues and until receiving the braces and to have the padding and extra supports in my shoe I’ve been wearing a 10.5 w keen hiking shoe.
Please, I hope you can help me, because in the meantime my feet are in excruciating pain to walk. My dr says this will help.”
Shoes to accommodate an AFO are a common request we receive since the style, size, and width of shoes for AFO's are not available in retail stores. In addition, even if the person visited our site, it would be very difficult for them to select the appropriate shoe they would need to address the AFO.
Since ICS carries the largest selection of therapeutic shoes, our Fitting Specialists were happy to help provide many options. The ICS Fitting Specialists have extensive knowledge and experience fitting people with AFO's and were able to help: (1) Determine the proper size, width, and volume of their feet, (2) Match their foot size with many options of shoes we have available, and (3) Alleviate their pain with the proper footwear.
ICS represents all of the best manufacturers of therapeutic shoes that address the need for AFO's and most other foot conditions. In Rose's case, our Fitting Specialist was able to identify several styles of shoes that fit her AFO. As Rose said, "I’d still like to eventually get two or three shoes for different occasions that are comfortable, look nice, & don’t make me look like I have duck feet on steroids on my feet." With all the different choices available, Rose had many options of attractive looking shoes she could wear for any and all occasions.