Among the many questions, I am asked in the course of my day as perhaps NYC’s most devilishly handsome and consummately modest podiatrists are: Is this going to hurt? Is it covered by insurance? Are you going to share that cake? And the subject of this week’s blog: Why do my shoes constantly wear out on the outside of the heel?

We have discussed the gait cycle before in the historical annals of this blog. As a review, the foot cycles through a complex series of movements in the moments from heel strike to toe off. At first, the foot is in a locked, or supinated, position, in which the heel hits the ground on the outside surface. As the remainder of the foot makes contact with the ground, the foot then pronates, which is the act of the arch coming closer to the ground and allows the foot to adapt to the ground surface. This is a much more loose orientation for the foot. And no matter the foot type – from over to under pronator, flat foot to high arch, we all pronate in the gait cycle, and that’s a good thing. Next, the heel lifts from the ground as the foot supinates and locks in a stable position, and the pressure is once again shifted to the outside of the foot. This all takes place within a very short period of time.

The important take home point of this cycle is the position of the foot in heel contact. All things being equal, most people land on the outside of the foot, and will, therefore, wear out the outside of the heel first. One heel usually wears out faster than the other, and that is invariably the heel on the bigger foot that is attached to the longer leg. Don’t worry if you have a bigger foot and longer leg, up to 96% of us do too.

So another week, another mystery solved. The bad news is your shoes will continue to wear out. We can solve a lot of problems and mysteries in the office, however, entropy remains a constant.

See you in the office.

Ernest Isaacson

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Ernest L Isaacson DPM PC
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